Basic principles and new advances in kidney imaging

Anna Caroli, Andrea Remuzzi, Lilach O. Lerman

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review


Over the past few years, clinical renal imaging has seen great advances, allowing assessments of kidney structure and morphology, perfusion, function and metabolism, and oxygenation, as well as microstructure and the interstitium. Medical imaging is becoming increasingly important in the evaluation of kidney physiology and pathophysiology, showing promise in management of patients with renal disease, in particular with regard to diagnosis, classification, and prediction of disease development and progression, monitoring response to therapy, detection of drug toxicity, and patient selection for clinical trials. A variety of imaging modalities, ranging from routine to advanced tools, are currently available to probe the kidney both spatially and temporally, particularly ultrasonography, computed tomography, positron emission tomography, renal scintigraphy, and multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging. Given that the range is broad and varied, kidney imaging techniques should be chosen based on the clinical question and the specific underlying pathologic mechanism, taking into account contraindications and possible adverse effects. Integration of various modalities providing complementary information will likely provide the greatest insight into renal pathophysiology. This review aims to highlight major recent advances in key tools that are currently available or potentially relevant for clinical kidney imaging, with a focus on non-oncological applications. The review also outlines the context of use, limitations, and advantages of various techniques, and highlights gaps to be filled with future development and clinical adoption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1001-1011
Number of pages11
JournalKidney international
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • chronic kidney disease
  • kidney development
  • renal biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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