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June 28, 1976

Ultraperil of Diagnostic Ultrasound

Author Affiliations

San Diego, Calif

JAMA. 1976;235(26):2813-2814. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260520013007

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To the Editor.—  The current vogue of preempting diagnoses of possible malignancies in renal masses by ultrasound has led me to express a word of caution. The pattern of ("benign") renal cyst by ultrasound may lead to nonsurgery or use of needle aspiration techniques on the basis of a standing protocol for management.

Report of a Case.—  A 72-year-old woman had the intriguing history of a stroke five years earlier as a result of "too many red blood corpuscles." She was mildly hypertensive and had a hemoglobin value of 19.0 gm/100 ml by venipuncture. She had florid facies and gross clubbing of the fingers. No studies other than cerebral angiography had been done at the small hospital at which she had been previously. An intravenous pyelogram disclosed a right renal mass and, on the basis of ultrasound findings consistent with "cyst," a debate arose as to whether surgery should or