Interstitial fibrosis and tubular atrophy (IF/TA) is a common cause of kidney allograft loss. Several noninvasive techniques developed to assess tissue fibrosis are widely used to examine the liver. However, relatively few studies have investigated the use of elastographic methods to assess transplanted kidneys. The aim of this study was to explore the clinical implications of the acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) technique in renal transplant patients. A total of 91 patients who underwent living donor renal transplantation between September 2010 and January 2013 were included in this prospective study. Shear wave velocity (SWV) was measured by ARFI at baseline and predetermined time points (1 week and 6 and 12 months after transplantation). Protocol biopsies were performed at 12 months. Instead of reflecting IF/TA, SWVs were found to be related to time elapsed after transplantation. Mean SWV increased continuously during the first postoperative year (P<0.001). In addition, mixed model analysis showed no correlation existed between SWV and serum creatinine (r=-0.2426, P=0.0771). There was also no evidence of a relationship between IF/TA and serum creatinine (odds ratio [OR]=1.220, P=0.7648). Furthermore, SWV temporal patterns were dependent on the kidney weight to body weight ratio (KW/BW). In patients with a KW/BW <3.5 g/kg, mean SWV continuously increased for 12 months, whereas it decreased after 6 months in those with a KW/ BW ≥3.5 g/kg. No significant correlation was observed between SWV and IF/TA or renal dysfunction. However, SWV was found to be related to the time after transplantation. Renal hemodynamics influenced by KW/BW might impact SWV values.
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