Can bedside ultrasound assist in determining whether serum creatinine is elevated in cases of acute urinary retention?

Kaushal Shah, Jennifer Teng, Hiral Shah, Alice Choe, Amir Darvish, David Newman, Dan Wiener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: There are no guidelines to determine which patients with acute urinary retention (AUR) require blood testing (i.e., serum creatinine) to assess for renal failure. Objective: To determine if hydronephrosis on bedside ultrasound correlates with an abnormal serum creatinine (Cr) level in cases of AUR. Methods: This was a prospective, observational study of subjects clinically diagnosed with AUR at two associated urban academic centers from October 2004 through August 2006. Emergency physicians completed a data form and performed a bedside ultrasound to determine the presence or absence of hydronephrosis. The data collected included suspected cause of AUR, amount of urinary output after Foley insertion, and blood test results. Follow-up was obtained by telephone and electronic medical record for 1 month. Standard statistics were employed. Results: Among 96 enrolled subjects with AUR, 43 had a serum Cr level obtained on the initial visit, and 10 (23%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1136) of these had an elevated Cr (10% [95% CI 416] of the study cohort). The test characteristics of hydronephrosis on bedside ultrasound to detect elevation in Cr were a sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of 70%, 67%, 39%, and 88%, respectively. Conclusion: In cases of AUR, the prevalence of elevated creatinine is high, and hydronephrosis based on bedside ultrasonography does not correlate with elevation in creatinine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-203
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • creatinine
  • hydronephrosis
  • ultrasonography
  • urinary retention


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