Journal of nephrology

Ultrasound findings of BK polyomavirus-associated nephropathy in renal transplant patients.

PMID 27342655


BK polyomavirus (BKV) is an emerging pathogen in immunocompromised patients. BKV infection occurs in 1-9 % of renal transplants and causes chronic nephropathy or graft loss. Diagnosis of BKV-associated nephropathy (BKVAN) is based on detection of viruria then viremia and at least a tubule-interstitial nephritis at renal biopsy. This paper describes the ultrasound and color Doppler (US-CD) features of BKVAN. Seventeen patients affected by BKVAN were studied using a linear bandwidth 7-12 MHz probe. Ultrasound showed a widespread streak-like pattern with alternating normal echoic and hypoechoic streaks with irregular edges from the papilla to the cortex. Renal biopsy performed in hypoechoic areas highlighted the typical viral inclusions in tubular epithelial cells. Our experience suggests a possible role for US-CD in the non-invasive diagnosis of BKVAN when combined with blood and urine screening tests. US-CD must be performed with a high-frequency linear probe to highlight the streak-like pattern of the renal parenchyma.