Nephrolithiasis - Kidney Stone

  • Diagnosis
  • Algorithms
  • Screening
  • Monitoring
  • Background
  • Pediatrics
  • Lab Tests
  • References
  • Related Topics
  • Videos

Indications for Testing

  • Patient with symptoms of a stone

Laboratory Testing

  • Initial testing
    • CBC – evaluate for concomitant infection
    • Electrolytes – evaluate for electrolyte abnormalities
    • Blood urea nitrogen (BUN)/creatinine – evaluate for obstructive renal pathology
    • Urinalysis with possible urine culture – evaluate for concomitant urinary tract infection
  • 24-hour urine evaluation – use panel testing for most patients
    • Not usually performed with first stone (exception with children)
      • Usually includes electrolyte analysis (eg, sodium) and metabolic analysis (eg, oxalate and calcium)
    • May delay risk assessment until stone disease recurs
    • Two different specimens recommended
  • Serum – uric acid, ionized calcium, and parathyroid hormone-related peptide (PTH)
    • PTH testing may be reserved for recurrent disease unless primary hypoparathyroidism is suspected
  • Amino acids analysis – evaluate when cystinuria is suspected or for those with cystine stones
  • Stone analysis
    • Repeat if lack of response to therapy since stone composition may change

Imaging Studies

  • Helical CT scan can confirm presence and location of stones
    • May help assess stone burden and risk of recurrence

Differential Diagnosis

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Ovarian cyst rupture
  • Ovarian torsion
  • Peritonitis
  • Prostatitis
  • Acute pyelonephritis
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Groin hernia
  • No evidence to support screening for stones in asymptomatic patients
  • Usually unnecessary in first-time stone former
  • If performed, usually includes a minimum of the following
    • Assessment within 6 months after treatment begins or changes; thereafter annually, depending on stone activity (American Urological Association, 2014)
    • 24-hour urine – kidney stone panel testing
      • Should include testing for calcium oxalate sodium, uric acid, citric acid, phosphorus, creatinine
      • Quantitative cystine in patients with cystinuria
    • Serum – urea nitrogen, creatinine, and ionized calcium

Nephrolithiasis is a worldwide problem that accounts for significant morbidity and expense.

Epidemiology

  • Prevalence – 1-5/1,000
    • 1/11 affected during lifetime (Pearle, 2014)
  • Age – peaks in 20s
  • Sex – M>F, 2-3:1
  • Ethnicity – Caucasian men have highest incidence
  • Geographic – hotter and drier climates

Risk Factors

Clinical Presentation

  • Acute, colicky flank pain radiating into the pelvis and genitalia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Urinary urgency, frequency, and dysuria may develop with stone passage
  • Hematuria – present in 90% of patients

Prevention

  • All stones – maintain urine volume ≥2.5 L/day
  • Uric acid stones – limit intake of nondairy protein, allopurinol (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality [AHRQ], 2013)
  • Cystine stones – limit intake of protein and salt
  • Calcium oxalate stones (AHRQ, 2013; American Urological Association, 2014)
    • Increase intake of fluid
    • Reduce consumption of soft drinks
    • Thiazide diuretics
    • Citrate pharmacotherapy if urinary citrate is low
    • Reduce sodium and animal protein
    • If oxalate is relatively high – limit oxalate and use dairy products at mealtime to enhance binding of oxalate and calcium in gastrointestinal tract

Clinical Background

Epidemiology

  • Incidence – 4.7/100,000 hospitalized
  • Lower than in adults

Clinical Presentation

  • Flank pain, abdominal pain
  • <5 years of age – nonspecific; nausea, emesis
  • Blood in urine, dysuria, urgency

Diagnosis

Indications for Testing

  • Patient with suspicion for stone

Laboratory Testing

  • Initial testing
    • CBC – evaluate for concomitant infection
    • Electrolytes – evaluate for electrolyte abnormalities
    • Blood urea nitrogen (BUN)/creatinine – evaluate for obstructive renal pathology
    • Urinalysis with possible urine culture – evaluate for concomitant urinary tract infection
  • 24-hour urine evaluation
    • May delay this risk assessment until stone disease recurs
    • Initial testing should include 2 different specimens
    • Recommended in first episode due to high risk of metabolic problems underlying stone
  • Amino acids analysis
    • Evaluate for cystinuria in patients with elevated urine cystine – more common in children with nephrolithiasis

Monitoring

  • More important in children, even with first-time stone former
    • >75% of stones in children are secondary to metabolic problems
  • Usually includes the following
    • Assessment within 6 months after treatment begins or changes
    • 24-hour urine evaluation – kidney stone panels to assess
      • Should include testing for calcium oxalate, sodium, uric acid, citric acid, phosphorus, creatinine
      • Quantitative urine cystine or urine amino acids analysis in patients with cystinuria
    • Serum – urea nitrogen, creatinine, and ionized calcium
Tests generally appear in the order most useful for common clinical situations. Click on number for test-specific information in the ARUP Laboratory Test Directory.

Calculi Risk Assessment, Urine 2008708
Method: Quantitative Spectrophotometry/Quantitative Enzymatic/Quantitative Ion-Selective Electrode

Supersaturation Profile, Urine 2008771
Method: Quantitative Spectrophotometry/Quantitative Enzymatic/Quantitative Ion-Selective Electrode

Limitations 

Assessment for risk of magnesium ammonium phosphate (struvite) calculi is not included in this profile

Does not test for urine cystine

Follow-up 

If magnesium ammonium phosphate calculi are suspected, order plasma ammonia testing

If cystine calculi are suspected, order cystinuria panel, cystine quantitative urine or amino acids quantitative urine tests

Kidney Stone Risk Panel, Urine 0020843
Method: Quantitative Spectrophotometry/Quantitative Enzymatic

Cystinuria Panel 0081105
Method: Quantitative Liquid Chromatography/Tandem Mass Spectrometry

Cystine Quantitative, Urine 0081106
Method: Liquid Chromatography/Tandem Mass Spectrometry

Amino Acids Quantitative by LC-MS/MS, Urine 2009419
Method: Quantitative Liquid Chromatography/Tandem Mass Spectrometry

Calculi (Stone) Analysis 0099460
Method: Quantitative Reflectance Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy/Quantitative Polarizing Microscopy

Calculi (Stone) Analysis with Photo 2005231
Method: Quantitative Reflectance Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy/Quantitative Polarizing Microscopy

Guidelines

Fink HA, Wilt TJ, Eidman KE, Garimella PS, MacDonald R, Rutks IR, Brasure M, Kane RL, Monga M. Recurrent Nephrolithiasis in Adults: Comparative Effectiveness of Preventive Medical Strategies [Internet]. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US) 2012; :PubMed

Fink HA, Wilt TJ, Eidman KE, Garimella PS, MacDonald R, Rutks IR, Brasure M, Kane RL, Ouellette J, Monga M. Medical management to prevent recurrent nephrolithiasis in adults: a systematic review for an American College of Physicians Clinical Guideline. Ann Intern Med. 2013; 158(7): 535-43. PubMed

Pearle MS, Goldfarb DS, Assimos DG, Curhan G, Denu-Ciocca CJ, Matlaga BR, Monga M, Penniston KL, Preminger GM, Turk TM T, White JR, American Urological Assocation. Medical management of kidney stones: AUA guideline. J Urol. 2014; 192(2): 316-24. PubMed

General References

Brener ZZ, Winchester JF, Salman H, Bergman M. Nephrolithiasis: evaluation and management. South Med J. 2011; 104(2): 133-9. PubMed

Frassetto L, Kohlstadt I. Treatment and prevention of kidney stones: an update. Am Fam Physician. 2011; 84(11): 1234-42. PubMed

Goldfarb DS. In the clinic. Nephrolithiasis. Ann Intern Med. 2009; 151(3): ITC2. PubMed

Sakhaee K, Maalouf NM, Sinnott B. Clinical review. Kidney stones 2012: pathogenesis, diagnosis, and management. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012; 97(6): 1847-60. PubMed

References from the ARUP Institute for Clinical and Experimental Pathology®

Gabrielsen S, Laciak RJ, Frank EL, McFadden M, Bates CS, Oottamasathien S, Hamilton BD, Wallis C. Pediatric urinary stone composition in the United States. J Urol. 2012; 187(6): 2182-7. PubMed

Medical Reviewers

Last Update: August 2016