Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Diagnosis of Blood in the Urine: Imaging and Cystoscopy
Imaging: There are several ways to visualize the urinary system, including ultrasound of the kidneys, intravenous pyelography, and CT scan.
Ultrasound, also known as sonography, uses high-frequency sound waves to visualize structures inside your body.
If there is no obvious explanation for your hematuria (such as a UTI) this likely will be one of the first imaging studies performed because it is simple and widely available.
Ultrasound is used in pregnancy because the test involves no radiation exposure that can damage the developing fetus.
It is useful in screening for kidney enlargement from an obstruction such as a stone, cancer, prostate enlargement, or strictures.
Intravenous pyelogram, or IVP, is an X-ray of the urinary tract.
A dye is first injected into your vein; the dye is filtered by your kidneys and provides contrast so the kidneys are easier to see.
A series of X-rays is taken over a 30-minute period, looking for blockages or problems.
This study is especially useful for evaluating the kidneys and ureters but less effective for the bladder, prostate, or urethra.
It can localize obstruction, stones, or a tumor.
IVP should be performed with care in older people and people with diabetes or preexisting kidney disease, because the contrast dye may bring on kidney failure.
CT scan is like an X-ray but gives much better detail.
It is excellent for detecting stones in your urinary system.
The test can be performed without contrast dye and is especially useful in people with preexisting kidney disease (since no dye, which could harm your kidney, has to be injected).
If stones and infection are ruled out, other tests are needed to look for less common causes of hematuria. Older people are at especially increased risk for more serious causes of blood in the urine. Anyone 40 years of age or older with hematuria should have a medical evaluation to determine if cancer is present in the urinary system. This workup usually can be done on an outpatient basis.
Cystoscopy: This test is most likely to be performed by a specialist dealing with the urinary system (urologist).
A thin tube with a tiny camera on the end is passed through the urethra to visualize the bladder, prostate (in men), and ureters. You are first given medication to relax you and relieve the discomfort of the procedure.
This procedure usually takes only 10 minutes.
Cystoscopy can identify most problems of the lower urinary system, especially cancers of the bladder and prostate.
Cytologic review: In this test, a pathologist examines a sample of urine for cells from the lower urinary tract.
If you have cancer, cells with features typical of a malignancy usually are present.
The pathologist examines these cells under a microscope and compares them with normal cells in the urinary system.