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Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 178-184
Three cases of prune belly syndrome at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja

Department of Pediatrics, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria

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Date of Web Publication15-Feb-2018


Prune belly syndrome (PBS) is a rare congenital disorder affecting 2.5 to 3.8/100,000 live births worldwide. Our objective of this report is to describe clinical manifestation, laboratory, and radiological characteristics of PBS in our patients, to highlight the limitations to offering appropriate patient care due to parents demanding discharge against medical advice and the need to increase the awareness regarding this rare disease. We report three cases; all referred after birth with lax abdominal wall, congenital anomalies of kidney, and urinary tract. One of the patients had an absent right foot. They all had cryptorchidism, and in one, there was deranged renal function. The reported cases had both medical and radiological interventions to varying degrees. They all had an abdominal ultrasound which revealed varying degrees of hydronephrosis, hydroureters, and bladder changes. Voiding cystourethrogram showed vesicoureteric reflux in one of the reported cases. Urinary tract infections were appropriately treated with antibiotics based on sensitivity. PBS management in our setting remains a challenge because of strong cultural beliefs, and high rate of discharge against medical advice. Focus should be on parent education, early diagnosis, and multidisciplinary management approach.

How to cite this article:
Solarin AU, Disu EA, Gbelee HO, Animasahaun AB, Aremu OE, Ogbuokiri E, Ogunnaike GO, Oladimeji A. Three cases of prune belly syndrome at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl 2018;29:178-84

How to cite this URL:
Solarin AU, Disu EA, Gbelee HO, Animasahaun AB, Aremu OE, Ogbuokiri E, Ogunnaike GO, Oladimeji A. Three cases of prune belly syndrome at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl [serial online] 2018 [cited 2021 Sep 28];29:178-84. Available from: https://www.sjkdt.org/text.asp?2018/29/1/178/225190

   Introduction Top

Prune belly syndrome (PBS), also known as Eagle-Barrett syndrome or Obrinsky syndrome[1],[2] is a congenital disorder affecting 2.5 to 3.8/100,000 live births worldwide.[3],[4] The true incidence of PBS in Nigeria is not known due to under reporting, although there has been a few case reports from some centers in Nigeria.

It is mainly found among males though not exclusively. It is a rare congenital malformation of unknown etiology, characterized by abnormalities of urinary tract, deficiency of abdominal wall musculature, and bilateral cryptorchidism in males. Its coexistence with other anomalies such as, cardiopulmonary, gastrointestinal, and musculoskeletal is well documented.[6]

The etiology of PBS is largely unknown, although there are several theories postulated. Familial and genetic basis have been proposed with some validation from many case reports,[7],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12] but a few have been nonsupportive publications.[13] A recent molecular discovery of hepatocyte nuclear factor 1 beta (HNF-1β) gives the genetic basis more validation.[14]

PBS is associated with extreme morbidities, as 50% have varying degrees of urinary pathology during their lifetime, particularly renal failure which occurs in 67% of them. This is a report of the clinical profile, and the peculiarities of the cases managed in our center compares with cases reported in some other centers in Nigeria.

   Case Reports Top

Case 1

A. K, male, term, second of a set of twins, delivered at 36 weeks gestation by spontaneous vertex delivery (SVD) on November 27, 15 at a secondary level facility. Both parents have primary education, the mother is a petty trader and father is a driver. The patient was noticed to have wrinkled abdomen, bilateral undescended testes, and poor urine stream at birth. Ultrasound done at 20 weeks gestation had revealed hydronephrosis.

The patient was discharged against medical advice but presented again referred from a secondary level center because of poor urine output, diarrhea, and vomiting at three months of life. He has a background history of poor urinary stream since birth with postvoidal dribbling. Examination revealed his weight was below the 3rd percentile for age, as well as that of the lax abdominal wall, bilateral cryptorchidism, and ballotable right kidney. Blood pressure was normal. Urethral catheterization was done, and urine output was 1.7–2.7 mL/kg/h.

Urinalysis with microscopy showed turbid urine, 4+ leukocytes, 1+ blood, 1+ protein, and 18–20 pus cells, 0–2 red cells. He was managed for septicemia with intravenous antibiotics.

Abdominal ultrasound (USS) showed hydronephrosis, hydroureter, and bladder wall thickening. Voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) showed bilateral hydronephrosis and Grade 4 vesico-ureteric reflux (VUR).

Electrolyte, urea, and creatinine (EUCr) revealed hyponatremia, metabolic acidosis, and azotemia (Na+ 124 mmol/L, K+ 5.2 mmol/L, HCO3-9 mmol/L, Cl-98 mmol/L, Urea 18.3 mg/dL, creatinine 125 μmol/L) which were corrected appropriately. Repeat electrolytes showed sodium of 133 mmol/L, potassium of 5.8 mmol/L, bicarbonate of 21 mmol/L, chloride 100 mmol/L, urea 8.4 mmol/L, and creatinine of 83 μmol/L. Electrocardiogram showed a structurally normal heart.

Further management included intermittent catheterization which the mother is doing, prophylactic antibiotics with amoxicillin daily, follow-up by pediatric surgeons and pediatric nephrologist.

Mother was counseled on need for intermittent catheterization, orchidopexy, and long-term follow-up.
Figure 1: Picture of lax anterior abdominal wall and empty scrotum.

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Figure 2: The control film of the micturiting cystourethrogram shows diasthesis of the pubic symphysis.

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Case 2

Baby O, male, delivered at term through SVD at a maternity center. Parents are of low socio-economic level (mother is a seamstress with secondary level of education and father is a policeman with secondary level of education). Birth weight was unknown. He presented with wrinkled abdomen and absence of the right foot at birth. Ultrasound during pregnancy revealed no abnormality. Examination revealed lax anterior abdominal wall, bimanually palpable and ballotable kidneys, bilateral cryptorchidism, and absent right foot.

Abdominal ultrasound revealed bilateral hydroureteronephrosis and megaureters. Electrolytes and urea were normal (Na+ 136 mmol/L, K+ 5.4 mmol/L, HCO3-18 mmol/L, Cl-106 mmol/L, Urea 34 mg/dL).

Parents, however, got the child discharged against medical advice before further review could be instituted.

Case 3

Baby I, male, delivered at term through SVD at a church clinic, birth was weight 3.5 Kg. He presented at 20 h of age with a history of poor cry at birth, abdominal distension, inability to pass urine, and vomiting since birth. Labor was prolonged and positive history of prolonged rupture of membrane > 48 h. Apgar scores were not documented. There was a history of second trimester USS finding of oligohydramnios, and mother ingesting alcohol during the first trimester. He passed meconium within 24 h of life.

Examination findings were that of nonuniformly distended abdomen with wrinkled anterior abdominal wall, palpable bladder, and bilaterally ballotable kidneys. The right testis was absent, but the left testis was palpable in the scrotal sac.
Figure 3: a and b: The full bladder film shows a well opacified urinary bladder with an irregular outline.

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Figure 4: Micturition shows normal caliber anterior and posterior urethra with a smooth outline.

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Figure 5: There is reflux of contrast into a grossly dilated left ureter up to the distal half. Impression: grade 1 vesicoureteric reflux with a grossly dilated left ureter.

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Abdominal ultrasound revealed bilateral hydronephrosis with dilated ureters. The left kidney measured 10.27 cm × 6.19 cm while the right 6.04 cm × 4.52 cm. The dilated ureters were traced entering the bladder. The bladder was enlarged with echogenic debris Urea and creatinine were elevated, 22.1 mmol/L and 385 umol/L, respectively, other electrolyte findings included hyponatremia (132 mmol/L) and metabolic acidosis (bicarbonate 19 mmol/L).

He was catheterized and left on continuous drainage after review by the urology team.

Parents, however, discharged against medical advice due to inability to do further investigations requested.

   Discussion Top

The etiopathogenesis of PBS is largely unknown; however, there are theoretical postulations as well as familial and genetic suspicions. There are controversies regarding these postulations, as some reported cases have validated them while some other publications disapproved them. These theories include: abdominal mesodermal maldevelopment theory[15],[16],[17] which occur between 6th and 10th week of gestation; it is also known as the theory of mesodermal arrest leading to abnormal development of the anterior abdominal wall and urinary tract musculature. This is the prevailing theory which has explained the involvement of the genitourinary tract, the testis, and the abdominal wall.[15],[16] The second theory involves in utero urethral obstruction malformation complex where a transient obstruction of the proximal urethra (at the junction of the glandular and penile urethra) leads to dilated urinary tract and distended abdomen.[18] This explains the high incidence of megalourethra observed in cases of PBS.

Familial and genetic components were suspected because of concordance rate in twins, monozygotic male twin case reports.[11],[19] The occurrence rate of PBS in twins can be up to 4%. One of our cases is a twin, and the other twin is normal. However, there has been a reported case occurring in monozygotic twins in northern part of Nigeria as well as some reported cases with familial component, in which siblings were affected.[20] A higher incidence in males suggests the influence of sex-linked genetic factor, although some have suggested an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance.[21] Recently, finding of deletion of HNF-1β, a transcription factor required for visceral endoderm specification during development and is expressed in many tissues including mesonephric duct derivatives.

Several risk factors have been implicated in PBS.[22] Some of these factors which include; poor antenatal attendance, ingestion of herbal concoction/alcohol, twining, low level of maternal education as well as low socioeconomic class were identified in this case series. Similarly, Osaghae et al[22] in their case report also identified the ingestion of herbal concoction in pregnancy, low maternal level of education, and young maternal age as possible risk factors in developing PBS.

Although the majority of the cases reported in Nigeria were male, there were a few cases involving female children.[5],[23] A study done by Ekwunife et al[23] in Nnewi, Nigeria reported two cases among female children and they were noted to have associated chromosomal abnormalities.

Anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract seen in our cases include bilateral hydronephrosis, hydroureter, grade four vesicoureteric reflux, dilated ureter, and bladder wall thickening. These anomalies are the most common associated congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT) documented in most of the reported cases worldwide,[24] but with varying severity depending on some factors which are; in utero time of onset of anomaly/obstruction, prompt or delayed prenatal diagnosis and intervention. A study done by Biard et al[25] showed a lesser degree in the severity of associated CAKUT seen in their subjects because of prompt prenatal diagnosis and intervention, leading to reduced morbidity and better outcome. Another case report by Galati et al[26] of a prenatal intervention done on a fetus with severe PBS showed a favorable response following the intervention.

Berdon et al[27] classified PBS into three groups. Group I presents with Potter's syndrome (severe oligohydramnios) and have severe pulmonary hypoplasia and renal dysplasia as well as varying degree of limb involvement due to intrauterine compression effect. They die shortly after because of respiratory failure. Group II patients also have severe respiratory and urinary tract problems; however, both systems are not so severely affected that the child succumbs at birth. Group III patients typically present because of the abnormal appearance of the abdominal wall or for undescended testes. Imaging demonstrates a typically abnormal urinary tract. The appearance of the abdominal wall does not correlate at all with the severity of urinary tract abnormalities.[28] In the review article, the authors noted that those with severe lack of abdominal musculature only had urinary stasis while those with mild abdominal wall involvement had severe bilateral ureteric obstruction and borderline renal function,[28] this was not, however, the findings documented by Ekwunife et al.[23]

One of the cases in our report had prenatal diagnosis but no intervention. This may be because of limitations in adequate expertise, or lack of facilities for such prenatal interventions or the minimal success achieved with such interventions even in the best of centers. The other cases in our report were not picked up prenatally despite antenatal ultrasonography done in pregnancy. This largely may be due to the expertise of the sonographer and or the sensitivity of the ultrasound machine used.

Management includes initial stabilization of respiratory system, especially those in Group I and II as classified by Berdon.[27] Those that show features of bell-shaped chest and compression deformities of the lower extremities are as result of maternal oligohydramnios and indicate poor renal function or urinary outflow obstruction. The obstructed patients require urinary drainage. Investigations such as urine microscopy, culture and sensitivity, abdominopelvic ultrasonography, intravenous urogram (IVU) or mercaptoacetyltriglycine 3 (MAG 3) renogram, micturating, or VCUG could be requested. A radiographic VCUG is valuable in determining the presence of VUR, the shape and emptying capacity of the bladder, the appearance of the urethra, and the presence of urethral obstruction. Similar information can be obtained from either the IVU or MAG three renogram. Immediate management of one of the cases in our review included treatment of urinary tract infection, correction of the electrolyte imbalance, continuous drainage of urine by urethral catheterization. Currently, management included continued clean intermittent catheterization in view of incomplete bladder emptying, antibiotic prophylaxis with amoxicillin, orchidopexy, early identification of urinary tract infection and prompt treatment, continued multidisciplinary follow-ups by urology and pediatric nephrology.

The other cases however got discharged against medical advice despite adequate counseling before further investigations and interventions could be done. This is due to financial constraints and sociocultural beliefs that the affected children may be signs of bad omen.

Prenatal diagnosis and intervention is usually instrumental to better outcome in PBS.[25],[26],[29] This is because it allows prenatal intervention where possible as well as proper counseling and planning of the management after delivery. Prenatal counseling may in turn prevent postnatal discharge against medical advice because they are well informed and management options would have been outlined.

A current review highlighted errors in antenatal ultrasonography in the 1980s that PBS has often been diagnosed and misdiagnosed as posterior urethral valves (PUV).[28] This had necessitated initially unnecessary antenatal interventions in many PBS babies since ultra sonographers were unable to distinguish them from PUV. Hydronephrosis, megaureters, and a thick-walled bladder are seen in both conditions, however, there are differences. In PBS, the abdominal wall tends to be lax and the urinary bladder is massive, whereas in PUV, the abdominal wall may be distended but it is not lax and the thick-walled bladder is small. In addition, the posterior urethra in PBS is dilated, elongated and “heart-shaped” while in PUV the bladder and urethra have a “key-hole” or “pear-shaped” appearance.

It is noteworthy that even though PBS was diagnosed in utero, the gains of vesicoamniotic shunts were quite minimal because of the erroneous impression that the urinary tract was obstructed. Shunting did not improve their status.[30]

The three cases in our report were seen within one year. This may be a pointer to a probable increasing incidence of PBS in our environment. Hence, there is a need for increase awareness, prompt diagnosis, prompt, and appropriate interventions.

   Conclusion Top

PBS management in our setting remains a challenge because of strong cultural beliefs and high rate of discharge against medical advice. Focus should be on parent education, early diagnosis, and multidisciplinary management approach.

   References Top

Eagle JF Jr., Barrett GS. Congenital deficiency of abdominal musculature with associated genitourinary abnormalities: A syndrome. Report of 9 cases. Pediatrics 1950;6:721-36.  Back to cited text no. 1
Obrinsky W. Agenesis of abdominal muscles with associated malformation of the genitourinary tract; a clinical syndrome. Am J Dis Child 1949;77:362-73.  Back to cited text no. 2
Routh JC, Huang L, Retik AB, Nelson CP. Contemporary epidemiology and characterization of newborn males with prune belly syndrome. Urology 2010;76:44-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
Baird PA, MacDonald EC. An epidemiologic study of congenital malformations of the anterior abdominal wall in more than half a million consecutive live births. Am J Hum Genet 1981;33:470-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
Reinberg Y, Shapiro E, Manivel JC, et al. Prune belly syndrome in females: A triad of abdominal musculature deficiency and anomalies of the urinary and genital systems. J Pediatr 1991; 118:395-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
Elder JS. Obstruction of the urinary tract. In: Behrman RE, Kliegman RM, Arvin AM, editors. Nelson Textbook of Paediatrics. Vol. 532. Philadelphia: W.B. Sanders; 2004. p. 1801-2.  Back to cited text no. 6
Garlinger P, Ott J. Prune belly syndrome. Possible genetic implications. Birth Defects Orig Artic Ser 1974;10:173-80.  Back to cited text no. 7
Ramasamy R, Haviland M, Woodard JR, Barone JG. Patterns of inheritance in familial prune belly syndrome. Urology 2005;65:1227.  Back to cited text no. 8
Grenet P, Le Calvé G, Badoual J, Gallet JP, Babinet JM. Congenital aplasia of the abdominal wall. A familial case. Ann Pediatr (Paris) 1972;19:523-8.  Back to cited text no. 9
Adeyokunnu AA, Familusi JB. Prune belly syndrome in two siblings and a first cousin. Possible genetic implications. Am J Dis Child 1982;136:23-5.  Back to cited text no. 10
Balaji KC, Patil A, Townes PL, et al. Concordant prune belly syndrome in monozygotic twins. Urology 2000;55:949.  Back to cited text no. 11
Feige A, Fiedler K, Rempen A, Osterhage HR. Prenatal diagnosis of prune belly syndrome occurring in siblings in 2 consecutive pregnancies. Z Geburtshilfe Perinatol 1984;188:239-43.  Back to cited text no. 12
Greene C, Wilson A, Shapira E. Prune belly syndrome and heart defect in one of monozygotic twins, following exposure to Tigan and Bendectin. Acta Genet Med Gemellol (Roma) 1985;34:101-4.  Back to cited text no. 13
Granberg CF, Harrison SM, Dajusta D, et al. Genetic basis of prune belly syndrome: Screening for HNF1β gene. J Urol 2012;187:272-8.  Back to cited text no. 14
Franco I, Schwartz B, Peter L, Raz S, Takvera F. Prune Belly Syndrome. Available from: http://www.emedicinemedscape.com/article/447 619-overview#a6. Last accessed 12 December 2016.  Back to cited text no. 15
Moore KL. The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology. Philadelphia: Sanders Company; 1988.  Back to cited text no. 16
Stephens FD, Gupta D. Pathogenesis of the prune belly syndrome. J Urol 1994;152:2328-31.  Back to cited text no. 17
Greskovich FJ 3rd, Nyberg LM Jr. The prune belly syndrome: A review of its etiology, defects, treatment and prognosis. J Urol 1988;140:707-12.  Back to cited text no. 18
Ibadin MO, Ademola AA, Ofovwe GE. Familial prune belly syndrome in Nigerian family. Saudi kidney Dis Transplant 2012;23:338-42.  Back to cited text no. 19
Audu LI, Mairami AB, Mukhtar YM, Otuneye AT, Tahir LM, Papka NY. Prune belly syndrome in a set of twins, a family tragedy: A case report. Niger J Paediatr 2013;40:428-30.  Back to cited text no. 20
Riccardi VM, Grum CM. The prune belly anomaly: Heterogeneity and superficial X-linkage mimicry. J Med Genet 1977;14:266-70.  Back to cited text no. 21
Osaghae DO, Mukwuzr-Odum LN, Edobor E, Enukegwu SN. Risk factors in the development of prune belly syndrome in a Nigerian child. J Med Med Sci 2012;3:443-6.  Back to cited text no. 22
Ekwunife OH, Ugwu JO, Modekwe V. Prune belly syndrome: Early management outcome of nine consecutive cases. Niger J Clin Pract 2014;17:425-30.  Back to cited text no. 23
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Rodriguez MM. Congenital anomalies of the kidney and the urinary tract (CAKUT). Fetal Pediatr Pathol 2014;33:293-320.  Back to cited text no. 24
Biard JM, Johnson MP, Carr MC, et al. Longterm outcomes in children treated by prenatal vesicoamniotic shunting for lower urinary tract obstruction. Obstet Gynecol 2005;106:503-8.  Back to cited text no. 25
Galati V, Beeson JH, Confer SD, et al. A favourable outcome following 32 vesicocentesis and amniocentesis procedure in a fetus with severe prune belly syndrome. J Pediatr Urol 2008;4:170-2.  Back to cited text no. 26
Berdon WE, Baker DH, Wigger HJ, Blanc WA. The radiologic and pathologic spectrum of the prune belly syndrome. The importance of urethral obstruction in prognosis. Radiol Clin North Am 1977;15:83-92.  Back to cited text no. 27
Radhakrishnan J, Alam S, Chin AC. Prune belly syndrome: Errors in management and complications of treatment. J Prog Paediatr Urol 2014;17:1-9.  Back to cited text no. 28
Byon M, Kim GJ. Prune-belly syndrome detected by ultrasound in the first trimester and the usefulness of vesicocentesis as a modality of treatment. Obstet Gynecol Sci 2013;56:265-8.  Back to cited text no. 29
Woodard JR. The impact of fetal diagnosis on the management of obstructive uropathy. Postgrad Med J 1990;66 Suppl 1:S37-43.  Back to cited text no. 30

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Adaobi U Solarin
Department of Pediatrics, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos
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DOI: 10.4103/1319-2442.225190

PMID: 29456226

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