Kidney Function: Glomerular Filtration Rate Measurement with MR Renography in Patients with Cirrhosis

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Requiring less than 10 minutes of imaging time with no radiation exposure, glomerular filtration rate determination during routine liver MR imaging may improve the clinical management of patients with cirrhosis.


To assess the accuracy of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) measurements obtained with low–contrast agent dose dynamic contrast material–enhanced magnetic resonance (MR) renography in patients with liver cirrhosis who underwent routine liver MR imaging, with urinary clearance of technetium 99m (99mTc) pentetic acid (DTPA) as the reference standard.

Materials and Methods

This HIPAA-compliant study was institutional review board approved. Written informed patient consent was obtained. Twenty patients with cirrhosis (14 men, six women; age range, 41–70 years; mean age, 54.6 years) who were scheduled for routine 1.5-T liver MR examinations to screen for hepatocellular carcinoma during a 6-month period were prospectively included. Five-minute MR renography with a 3-mL dose of gadoteridol was performed instead of a routine test-dose timing examination. The GFR was estimated at MR imaging with use of two kinetic models. In one model, only the signal intensities in the aorta and kidney parenchyma were considered, and in the other, renal cortical and medullary signal intensities were treated separately. The GFR was also calculated by using serum creatinine levels according to the Cockcroft-Gault and modification of diet in renal disease (MDRD) formulas. All patients underwent a 99mTc-DTPA urinary clearance examination on the same day to obtain a reference GFR measurement. The accuracies of all MR- and creatinine-based GFR estimations were compared by using Wilcoxon signed rank tests.


The mean reference GFR, based on 99mTc-DTPA clearance, was 74.9 mL/min/1.73 m2 ± 27.7 (standard deviation) (range, 10.3–120.7 mL/min/1.73 m2). With both kinetic models, 95% of MR-based GFRs were within 30% of the reference values, whereas only 40% and 60% of Cockcroft-Gault– and MDRD-based GFRs, respectively, were within this range. MR-based GFR estimates were significantly more accurate than creatinine level–based estimates (P < .001).


GFR assessment with MR imaging, which outperformed the Cockcroft-Gault and MDRD formulas, adds less than 10 minutes of table time to a clinically indicated liver MR examination without ionizing radiation.

© RSNA, 2011

Supplemental material:


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Article History

Received July 20, 2010; revision requested August 23; revision received December 6; accepted December 14; final version accepted December 28.
Published online: May 2011
Published in print: May 2011