Analgesic nephropathy CT

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Shakiba Hassanzadeh, MD[2]


Diagnosis is traditionally based on the clinical findings above in combination with excessive analgesic use. It is estimated that between 2 and 3 kg each of phenacetin or aspirin must be consumed before evidence of analgesic nephropathy becomes clinically apparent.


Once suspected, analgesic nephropathy can be confirmed with relative accuracy using computed tomography (CT) imaging without contrast.[1] One trial demonstrated that the appearance of papillary calcifications on CT imaging was 92% sensitive and 100% specific for the diagnosis of analgesic nephropathy.[2]


CT scan without contrast of the abdomen is usually preferred for diagnosing analgesic nephropathy, the findings include: decrease in renal size, bumpy contours and papillary calcifications.  

CT Scan

  • Since renal biopsy is an invasive procedure, CT scan without contrast of the abdomen is usually preferred for diagnosing analgesic nephropathy.[3][1]
  • The findings on CT scan in analgesic nephropathy include:[1]
    • Decrease in renal size
    • Bumpy contours  
    • Papillary calcifications  


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 de Broe ME, Elseviers MM (1998). "Analgesic nephropathy". N. Engl. J. Med. 338 (7): 446–52. PMID 9459649. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  2. Elseviers MM, De Schepper A, Corthouts R; et al. (1995). "High diagnostic performance of CT scan for analgesic nephropathy in patients with incipient to severe renal failure". Kidney Int. 48 (4): 1316–23. PMID 8569094. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  3. Template:Cite

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