Diagnosing VUR

How do I know if my child has VUR? VUR can often be detected by an ultrasound before the child is born.There are also factors that increase your child’s likelyhood of having VUR.

If you had VUR as a child, there is a chance your child will have VUR. If a sibling of your child has VUR, then the chances for VUR are also increased. In fact, VUR is 50% more likely to occur in the siblings of patients with VUR.1, 2

The most reliable test for diagnosing VUR in children is called a voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG), that uses an X-ray to examine the urinary tract.  Your child lies on a table and a hollow tube (catheter) is inserted into the urethra as far as the bladder. The bladder is then filled with a liquid containing an X-ray dye. Then X-rays are taken as the bladder fills and as the child urinates. This test can also determine the grade of VUR.

The VCUG is a fairly common procedure, but children and their parents often find it unpleasant, particularly the catheter.  Some doctors medicate children before the procedure so they will not remember the experience afterwards. Others doctors feel medication decreases the accuracy of the test and so do not medicate.


  1. Chertin B, Puri P. Familial vesicoureteral reflux. J Urol 2003; 169:1804-8.
  2. Ataei N, Madani A, Esfahani ST, et al. Screening for vesicoureteral reflux and renal scars in siblings of children with known reflux. Pediatr Nephrol 2004; 19: 1127-31.