Kidney stone procedures do not raise chronic kidney disease (CKD) risk. The procedure to treat urolithiasis has been found to raise the risk of increased serum creatinine, but not chronic kidney disease.
The researchers conducted a retrospective observational cohort study, which included 1,340 patients diagnosed with kidney stones – urolithiasis. Of them, 446 underwent urologic procedures. Mean follow-up was 9.8 years for those who underwent the procedure and 9.5 years for those who did not.
Those who underwent the procedure had a 49 percent increase in serum creatinine, but there was no significant difference in CKD risk between the two groups.
Elevated serum creatinine levels can be a result of the procedure, but more often than not it is a result of renal injury, secondary to the urolithiasis event itself.
The authors concluded, “Urologic procedures may protect those with more significant urolithiasis events from long-term renal dysfunction.”
Urolithiasis is the process of forming stones in the kidneys, bladder, or urethra. Kidney stones are caused by the crystallization of minerals, which occurs when there is not enough urine or when the levels of salt-forming crystals are present. Kidney stones may be caused by many different things, including calcium oxalate, uric acid, cysteine, or xanthine.
Based on the cause, there are different types of kidney stones, which include uric acid stones, calcium stones (the most common kidney stones), struvite stones, cystine stones, and xanthine stones.
Kidney stones are described as one of the most painful medical conditions one can have. Kidney stones are caused by oxalate, which is commonly found in humans and plants. Oxalate is not necessarily required by the body, and too much of it can result in kidney stones.
In plants, oxalate helps remove excess calcium, hence their high oxalate content. For humans, oxalate may work as a “prebiotic”, meaning it contributes to good bacteria within the gut.
When oxalate is ingested with the food, it gets broken down by the digestive system and released through our stool or urine. On its way through the intestines, oxalate can bind with calcium and get excreted through our stool. But when high levels of oxalate continuously pass through the kidneys, this is when kidney stones can develop. Calcium oxalate kidney stones are the most common kidney stone variety.
Urolithiasis risk factors and symptoms
The risk of urolithiasis increases with any factor that leads to urinary stasis, which is a prolonged accumulation of urine.
Risk factors for urolithiasis include:
- Being male
- Being Native American, African, or Israeli
- Having family history of producing excess protein
- Having medical history like intestinal disease, recurrent urinary tract infections, and cystinuria
- Following a poor diet and drinking insufficient amount of liquids
- Living in tropical climates, mountain regions, or desert
- Being on certain medications such as ephedrine, guaifenesin, thiazide, indinavir, and allopurinol
Symptoms of urolithiasis depend on the location of the stones. You may notice changes in urination, pain while urinating, pain in the lower back or abdomen, and even blood in the urine. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor right away to minimize your risk of complications.