Postgrad Med J 82:31-35 doi:10.1136/pgmj.2005.036327
  • Review

Vesicoureteric reflux and urinary tract infection in children

  1. I Blumenthal
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr I Blumenthal
 The Royal Oldham Hospital, Rochdale Road, Oldham, OL1 2JH, United Kingdom; ivan.blumenthal{at}
  • Received 21 April 2005
  • Accepted 16 May 2005


An association between vesicoureteric reflux (VUR) and renal damage was found in 1960. In 1973, the term reflux nephropathy (RN) was first used to describe the renal damage caused by VUR. Follow up studies show that about 10%–20% of children with RN develop hypertension or end stage renal disease. It is now evident that there is a sex difference in the development of RN. In most males with RN, the kidneys are congenitally abnormal. In females it is an acquired condition, the most severe damage being sustained by recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs). The purpose of current UTI guidelines is to identify VUR or any other abnormality of the urinary tract. Since the advent of routine antenatal ultrasonography, there is no longer a need to identify an abnormality of the urinary tract after the first reported UTI. Routine investigations are not required. Recurrent UTIs and a family history of VUR need further evaluation. There is also an urgent need to establish the long term value of prophylactic antibiotics in children with VUR.


  • Funding: none.

  • Conflicts of interest: none declared.