Home About us Editorial board Search Ahead of print Current issue Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contacts Login 
Visit old site
Home Print this page Email this page Small font size Default font size Increase font size
Users Online: 449

 Table of Contents  
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 11  |  Page : 537-539

Unusual complication of percutaneous nephrostomy in a renal transplant recipient

1 Department of Medicine I, University of Luebeck, Germany
2 Department of Radiology, University of Luebeck, Germany

Date of Web Publication9-Nov-2011

Correspondence Address:
Christian S Haas
University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein Campus Luebeck, Department of Medicine I, Ratzeburger Allee 160, 23538 Luebeck
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

Rights and PermissionsRights and Permissions

Context: Ureteral obstruction, resulting in impaired graft function, is a well-known problem following renal transplantation. Management of ureteral complications includes percutaneous nephrostomy, which is considered to be a safe and effective measure. Case Report: Here, we demonstrate a case of a 35-year old renal allograft recipient with primary graft function but stagnating serum creatinine following extraction of the double-J catheter. Ureteral stenosis was suspected by ultrasound imaging and magnetic resonance tomography, and urinary flow was preserved with a percutaneous nephrostomy. However, early displacement of the percutaneous nephrostomy catheter resulted in distinct clinical discomfort. CT imaging suggested an intra-abdominal position of the catheter's tip, requiring immediate surgical action. Conclusion: The present case demonstrates that performing PCN following renal transplantation may have unexpected risks.

Keywords: Nephrostomy, complication, renal allograft, transplantation.

How to cite this article:
Nitschke M, Paetzel M, Haas CS. Unusual complication of percutaneous nephrostomy in a renal transplant recipient. North Am J Med Sci 2010;2:537-9

How to cite this URL:
Nitschke M, Paetzel M, Haas CS. Unusual complication of percutaneous nephrostomy in a renal transplant recipient. North Am J Med Sci [serial online] 2010 [cited 2023 Mar 26];2:537-9. Available from: https://www.najms.org/text.asp?2010/2/11/537/86442

  Introduction Top

Percutaneous nephrostomy (PCN) is an established procedure following ureteral complications after renal transplantation. Insertion of a PCN catheter for decompression of the collecting system in cases of obstruction is considered to be an easy and safe procedure. However, early or delayed catheter displacement is a frequent event [1] .

Even with optimal imaging and choice of the puncture site, this complication cannot reliably be prevented. We here report the case of a renal allograft recipient with unexpected intra-abdominal position of a nephrostomy catheter.

  Case report Top

A 35-year old woman with end-stage renal disease due to chronic glomerulonephritis received a first cadaveric renal transplant from a living-related donor. Transplantation resulted in primary graft function without the need for hemodialysis therapy. Doppler ultrasound imaging showed homogenous perfusion of the graft with excellent systolic and diastolic flow, and the double-J catheter could be removed on day 14. Thereafter, serum creatinine levels did not develop as expected [Table 1], but routine renal ultrasound was unremarkable. Thus, a renal biopsy was performed on day 16, revealing moderate cellular rejection. However, serum creatinine remained unchanged despite treatment with high-dose methylprednisolone. At this time point, another ultrasonography test showed normal renal perfusion but demonstrated ureteral obstruction. Magnetic resonance tomography confirmed the findings and suggested the presence of a distal ureteral stenosis, while results obtained using renal scintigraphy were not conclusive. Since retrograde imaging of the ureter and re-insertion of a double-J catheter was not feasible, a PCN was performed. Shortly after the procedure, the patient complained of massive abdominal pain. Ultrasound and computed tomography imaging [Figure 1] demonstrated an unexpected position of the catheter (arrows), far away from the renal allograft (asterisk) and suggested adherence of the catheter tip to the ileum or within the small bowels (arrowhead). Urgent surgery confirmed the intra-abdominal position but fortunately did neither reveal any injured intestine nor signs of intra-abdominal fluid or peritonitis. The dislocated catheter was removed, and kidney function improved spontaneously. A few days later, the patient was dismissed symptom-free with a serum creatinine level of 131 μmol/L [Table 1].
Figure 1: CT imaging with digital reconstruction showing the course of the nephrostomy catheter (A) and its unexpected position (B and C; arrows) far away from the renal allograft (asterisk) and its tip likely adherent to or within the ileum (arrowhead).

Click here to view
Table 1: Course of serum creatinine levels and estimated glomerular filtration rate, using the MDRD formula.

Click here to view

  Discussion Top

Ureteral complications in renal transplantation occur in approximately 8% of renal transplant recipients, diagnosed at a mean of 18 days after renal transplantation, and occasionally leading to graft loss [2] . Initial treatment often consists of PCN, followed by other procedures such as surgical repair of the ureter or placement of a nephroureteral stent [2],[3] . Percutaneous therapy has also been successfully used after renal transplantation as sole therapy in treatment of ureteral obstruction and leakage [4] . Of note, patient and graft survival rates are not different in patients undergoing PCN when compared to other kidney recipients [5] . We here demonstrate a rare complication of PCN in a renal transplant recipient. While displacement of a PCN catheter is a common problem not only in native but also transplanted kidneys, intra-abdominal position is rare, but requires immediate attention and action to prevent further damage.

  Conclusion Top

The present case demonstrates that performing PCN may have unexpected risks.

  References Top

1.Effert P, Jakse G. Prevention of catheter dislodgment: modified nephrostomy with pigtail and balloon. Urologe A 2004;43:711-713.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Kaskarelis I, Koukoulaki M, Georgantas T, et al. Ureteral complications in renal transplant recipients successfully treated with interventional radiology. Transplant Proc 2008;40:3170-3172.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Yigit B, Tellioglu G, Berber I, et al. Surgical treatment of urologic complications after renal transplantation. Transplant Proc 2008;40:202-204.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Aytekin C, Boyvat F, Harman A, Ozyer U, Colak T, Haberal M. Percutaneous therapy of ureteral obstructions and leak after renal transplantation: long-term results. Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol 2007; 30: 1178-1184.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Mostafa SA, Abbaszadeh S, Taheri S, Nourbala MH. Percutaneous nephrostomy for treatment of posttransplant ureteral obstructions. Urol J 2008; 5: 79-83.  Back to cited text no. 5


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1]


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

  In this article
Case report
Article Figures
Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded202    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal