Bilateral renal halo sign in acute pancreatitis

Ganesh Athappan, Venkatesh K Ariyamuthu and Virusankulam K Rajamani
Med J Aust 2008; 189 (4): 228. || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2008.tb01991.x
Published online: 18 August 2008

A 29-year-old man with a history of alcohol misuse presented with acute abdominal pain, vomiting, and a tense and tender abdomen. Serum amylase and lipase levels were elevated, and acute pancreatitis was diagnosed. Computed tomography revealed a bilateral renal halo sign (Figure) and oedema of the pancreas with multiple fluid collections. The halo appears as ground-glass attenuation on imaging, due to enhancement of the perirenal fat from the retroperitoneal collection of pancreatic exudates.1 Bilateral perirenal fluid collections are rare2 and suggest pancreatitis.1

  • Ganesh Athappan1,2
  • Venkatesh K Ariyamuthu3
  • Virusankulam K Rajamani3

  • 1 Internal Medicine, Caritas St Elizabeth Medical Center, Boston, Mass, USA.
  • 2 Tufts School of Medicine, Tufts University, Boston, Mass, USA.
  • 3 Madras Medical College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.


  • 1. Susman N, Hammerman AM, Cohen E. The renal halo sign in pancreatitis. Radiology 1982; 142: 323-327.
  • 2. Mortelé KJ, Mergo PJ, Taylor HM, et al. Renal and perirenal space involvement in acute pancreatitis: spiral CT findings. Abdom Imaging 2000; 25: 272-278.


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