Renal stones on portal venous phase contrast-enhanced CT: Does intravenous contrast interfere with detection?

R. Joshua Dym, Dameon R. Duncan, Michael Spektor, Hillel W. Cohen, Meir H. Scheinfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the sensitivity of portal venous phase contrast-enhanced CT for the detection of renal stones. Methods: This retrospective study included 97 CT examinations of the abdomen without and with intravenous contrast, including 85 (87.6%) examinations with at least one renal stone on the "gold standard" noncontrast images, as scored by a single radiologist. Three other radiologists each independently reviewed only the contrast-enhanced images from all 97 examinations and recorded all renal stones. Reviewer sensitivity for stones was categorized by stone diameter. Reviewer sensitivity and specificity for stone disease were also calculated on a per-kidney basis. Results: The 97 cases included a total of 238 stones ≥1 mm, with a mean (±SD) of 1.2 ± 1.9 stones per kidney and a stone diameter of 3.5 ± 3.0 mm. Pooling data for the three reviewers, sensitivity for all stones was 81%; sensitivity for stones ≥2, ≥3, ≥4, and ≥5 mm was 88%, 95%, 99%, and 98%, respectively. Sensitivity for stone disease on a per-kidney basis was 94% when considering all stones; when considering only stones ≥2, ≥3, and ≥4 mm, sensitivity was 96%, 99%, and 100%, respectively. Specificity for stone disease on a per-kidney basis was 98% overall, 99% when considering only stones ≥2 mm, and 100% when considering only stones ≥3 mm. Conclusion: Contrast-enhanced CT is highly sensitive for the detection of renal stones ≥3 mm in diameter and less sensitive for smaller stones. In cases where the clinical diagnosis is uncertain and performance of a CT examination is being contemplated, intravenous contrast utilization would allow assessment for stone disease while also optimizing evaluation for other conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)526-532
Number of pages7
JournalAbdominal Imaging
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • CT
  • Calculi
  • Emergency imaging
  • Intravenous contrast
  • Iodinated contrast
  • Renal stones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology
  • Urology


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