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Ultrasound showed both kidneys having mild cortical thinning. What is causing this? Is it serious?

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I just had an ultrasound of my abdomen and it showed both kidneys have mild cortical thinning. Is this serious? What causes this? What can be done to help the kidneys?
Posted Thu, 26 Jul 2012 in Kidney Conditions
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 2 hours later
Thanks for writing in.
I am a medical specialist with an additional degree in sub specialty of cardiology.
I read your question with diligence.
The Renal Cortical thickness (RCT)is mostly useful in differentiating chronic and acute renal insufficiency, because in most chronic renal failures, renal cortical thinning would be present; on the other hand, in acute states of renal failure, we do not expect a decrease in RCT. Therefore, in absence of values of renal function tests ( Blood Urea, Serum Creatinine, Serum Alkaline Phosphate, Serum Calcium, Serum Phosphorous, Serum Albumin, Serum Globulin, Urine for sugar, protein and microscopic examination urine and kidney size of both kidney on ultrasound is the complete list of renal function tests) RCT has not much value. More so because:

1. Wide range of normal, the normal RCT has been reported as 10–15 mm.
2. RCT is higher in some population than others. Therefore, normal reference values
have not been established in different populations.
3. Some studies have found that there is a significant difference between
the mean RCT in men and women. It seems that this difference between men
and women is due to a difference between their body metabolism.

So, if you ultrasonographer has commented that RCT is thin without any reference value and your renal function tests are normal, I would not worry.
If renal function tests are abnormal or if ultrasonographer has given the measurement of RCT with reference value that would be cause for concern. This information will be available with you. Please ask a followup query providing the available information or you have any question pertaining to what I had written, please ask I will be happy to answer asap.

With Best Wishes.

Dr Anil Grover,
M.B.;B.S, M.D. (Internal Medicine) D.M.(Cardiology)
http://www/ WWW.WWWW.WW
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Ultrasound showed both kidneys having mild cortical thinning. What is causing this? Is it serious? 1 hour later
My creatine was Normal on today's blood test and it is always Normal in past years. There is No Reference Value on my Ultrasound Abdomen test.

But is there any supplements I can take to slow down the thinning of the cortex?

What is the cause/s to make the cortex become thinner?
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 46 minutes later

Pleased to get your response that your renal function at least the most important one is normal. If you have fall in Hemogobin, Decrease in size of kidney ( size would have reported in the report) or your doctor ever suspected Chronic Renal Failure. Then there is no cause of concern in my opinion. In any case I am not aware of any such treatment. I wish that you never develop renal failure in your life. So, why worry about something which does not exist.

Cortex becomes thinner in renal failure in acute there can be renal cortical necrosis and in chronic this can be part of disease process (may be glomerulosclerosis). But in acute cortical necrosis, your creatinine shoots up. You may stop passing urine.

I found this description from someone very apt so I am quoting:
"The renal cortex is the large section of functional tissue that essentially gives the kidney its shape; its the outermost layer, only the renal capsule is more to the edge than the cortex.

There are 'hundreds of variables' to this finding; in a lot of patients, the cortex appears thinned but renal function remains normal and stable.

In a larger subset of patients, cortical thinning can result from frequent of chronic inflammation, like glomerulosclerosis or glomerulonephritis. And the underlying causes for those conditions could be a wide variety of things.

It would be up to the doc to put the imaging results together with the patient's blood and urine test numbers and entire history and then figure out what the real cause might be.

So in and of itself, cortical thinning is not a 'disease'; it is caused by something else, but right now we don't have enough history to base a guess on. It's really a symptom; just an unusual finding on an ultrasound. I'm afraid that you need to wait on the doc to get any real answers.

In any case, it's probably not immediately XXXXXXX and a month's delay will probably not change the overall condition of the patient much, if at all XXXXXXX

I hope the answer has been helpful if you have further I will happily answer asap.

With Best Wishes.

Dr Anil Grover,
M.B.;B.S, M.D. (Internal Medicine) D.M.(Cardiology)
http://www/ WWW.WWWW.WW
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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