Campbell-Walsh Urology, 11th Edition


Urinary Lithiasis and Endourology


Evaluation and Medical Management of Urinary Lithiasis

Michael E. Lipkin; Michael N. Ferrandino; Glenn M. Preminger


  1. Patients with enteric hyperoxaluria are most likely to form stones composed of:
  2. calcium phosphate.
  3. calcium oxalate.
  4. magnesium ammonium phosphate.
  5. uric acid.
  6. cystine.
  7. The risk factor most associated with recurrent stone formation in patients with inflammatory bowel disease is:
  8. hyperabsorption of oxalate in the jejunum.
  9. hyperexcretion of calcium from the distal tubule.
  10. diminished citrate absorption in the terminal ileum.
  11. hyperabsorption of calcium in the small bowel.
  12. increased colonic absorption of free oxalate.
  13. Hypocitraturia in patients with inflammatory bowel disease or chronic diarrhea syndrome is due to:
  14. persistent bicarbonate losses.
  15. hypokalemia.
  16. metabolic acidosis.
  17. intracellular acidosis.
  18. All of the above
  19. The optimum treatment for patients with enteric hyperoxaluria includes:
  20. calcium supplements, potassium citrate, and increased oral fluid intake.
  21. dietary restriction of oxalate.
  22. thiazides and potassium citrate.
  23. allopurinol.
  24. pyridoxine.
  25. The most important factor predisposing patients to gouty diathesis is:
  26. hypercalciuria.
  27. low urinary pH.
  28. hypocitraturia.
  29. low urine volumes.
  30. hyperuricosuria.
  31. The initial laboratory test that provides the most important diagnostic clue in patients with uric acid calculi is:
  32. urine pH.
  33. serum uric acid levels.
  34. urine sodium.
  35. urine calcium.
  36. urine uric acid levels.
  37. The most appropriate medical treatment of a patient with gouty diathesis is:
  38. allopurinol.
  39. thiazides.
  40. increased fluids.
  41. dietary calcium restriction.
  42. potassium citrate.
  43. A patient with recurrent uric acid calculi is placed on oral medical treatment and returns for follow-up 3 months later. He is noted to have significantly elevated urinary uric acid levels as compared with his first 24-hour urine collection. This finding is due to:
  44. increased production of endogenous uric acid.
  45. failure to avoid high-sodium foods.
  46. increased solubility of uric acid.
  47. increased consumption of red meat.
  48. inhibition of xanthine oxidase.
  49. A patient with uric acid calculi is placed on alkali therapy but returns 1 year later having passed two calcium phosphate stones. A repeat 24-hour urine demonstrates a urine pH of 7.4, a urinary citrate of 450 mg/day, and a urinary uric acid of 875 mg/day. The most likely cause for recurrent stone formation is:
  50. cessation of potassium citrate.
  51. increase in oral purine intake.
  52. decrease in solubility of uric acid.
  53. excess alkalization.
  54. increase in saturation of oxalate.
  55. A patient with gouty diathesis is started on sodium bicarbonate therapy, and urinary pH is maintained between 6.3 and 6.7. Calcium oxalate stones may form due to:
  56. sodium-inhibiting calcium reabsorption in the proximal tubule.
  57. homogeneous nucleation of calcium oxalate.
  58. undiagnosed hypercalciuria.
  59. lack of allopurinol in medical management regimen.
  60. reduction in monosodium urate.
  61. A 58-year-old Hispanic female with a history of recurrent urinary tract infections treated three to four times in the past 18 months is seen by her family physician. At present she is asymptomatic. She has no history of nephrolithiasis. Renal ultrasound demonstrates moderate left hydronephrosis and a large density within the renal pelvis with posterior shadowing. A kidney-ureter-bladder (KUB) view with tomography reveals a poorly opacified dendritic stone in the renal pelvis and lower pole calyces. Prior urine cultures have Proteusand Klebsiella species. The stone composition of this patient is most likely:
  62. calcium oxalate.
  63. uric acid.
  64. magnesium ammonium phosphate.
  65. cystine.
  66. hydroxyapatite.
  67. The most significant factor contributing to stone formation in patients with struvite calculi is:
  68. gouty diathesis.
  69. recurrent urinary tract infections.
  70. family history.
  71. hyperoxaluria.
  72. hypercalciuria.
  73. Which of the following treatments is contraindicated for patients with recurrent struvite calculi?
  74. Orthophosphate
  75. Fluoroquinolones
  76. Thiazide diuretics
  77. Acetohydroxamic acid
  78. Calcium channel blockers
  79. Acetohydroxamic acid contributes to reducing infection stone formation by:
  80. reversing associated metabolic defects.
  81. preventing recurrent urinary tract infections.
  82. alkalization of the urine.
  83. irreversibly inhibiting urease.
  84. All of the above
  85. A 12-year-old boy is seen for evaluation of recurrent nephrolithiasis. He has spontaneously passed three stones over the previous 4 years and has recently undergone shockwave lithotripsy twice without success. He has been treated in the past with an unknown medication, but this was discontinued because the parents believed it was of no benefit. Urinalysis demonstrates hexagonal crystals. The likely metabolic diagnosis contributing to this patient's recurrent stone formation is:
  86. hypocitraturia.
  87. hyperoxaluria.
  88. low urine volumes.
  89. gouty diathesis.
  90. cystinuria.
  91. First-line medical treatment for the prevention of recurrent cystine stones would be aimed at:
  92. urinary acidification.
  93. increasing the solubility of cystine.
  94. decreasing urinary sodium.
  95. decreasing the solubility of cystine.
  96. binding of cystine within the intestines.
  97. α-Mercaptopropionylglycine (α-MPG, Thiola Mission Pharmacal Company, San Antonio, TX) may be helpful in the management of cystinuria because it:
  98. acts as a diuretic, further decreasing urinary cystine concentration.
  99. is significantly more effective than d-penicillamine.
  100. can be used as both an oral and intrarenal chemolytic agent.
  101. has equivalent efficacy at increasing solubility with reduced toxicity compared with d-penicillamine.
  102. adequately alkalizes the urine, obviating the need for potassium citrate.
  103. Three years after initiating treatment for cystine stones with α-MPG, 800 mg/day, a patient returns with a follow-up, 24-hour urine collection demonstrating a significant reduction in cystine excretion from 740 to 250 mg/day. Urine volume is 775 mL/day. He has two additional stones. The reason for recurrent stone formation is:
  104. increased age, thereby exacerbating the disorder.
  105. decreased efficacy of α-MPG.
  106. continued supersaturation of urinary cystine.
  107. continued hypocitraturia.
  108. increased urine acidity.
  109. A 19-year-old white woman with a 6-year history of recurrent stone disease is found to have multiple bilateral renal calculi by renal ultrasound during an evaluation for recurrent flank pain. She reports having passed more than 10 stones in the previous 2 years. Review of the renal ultrasound indicates no evidence of hydronephrosis. KUB film and tomograms demonstrate five stones on the left and eight stones on the right, all less than 4 mm. She has a strong family history of stones with three first-degree relatives and two cousins with nephrolithiasis. Urine pH is consistently above 6.8. Stone compositions have been mixed calcium phosphate and calcium oxalate. The most definitive test to identify this disorder would demonstrate:
  110. decreased serum parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels.
  111. persistently elevated urine calcium.
  112. inability to reduce the urine pH below 5.3.
  113. normalization of hypercalciuria.
  114. marked increase in urinary uric acid levels with initiation of treatment.
  115. Which of the following is NOT a cause of hypocitraturic calcium nephrolithiasis?
  116. Thiazide-induced hypocitraturia
  117. Absorptive hypercalciuria type I
  118. Distal renal tubular acidosis
  119. Metabolic acidosis
  120. Chronic diarrheal syndrome
  121. The most appropriate treatment for patients with renal tubular acidosis is:
  122. thiazides.
  123. allopurinol.
  124. sodium alkali.
  125. acetohydroxamic acid.
  126. potassium alkali.
  127. Renal tubular acidosis may be associated with nephrolithiasis due to:
  128. hypercalciuria and hypocitraturia.
  129. hyperoxaluria and hypercalcemia.
  130. hyperuricosuria.
  131. hypocitraturia with normal urine magnesium.
  132. hypercitraturia and hypercalciuria.
  133. Chronic metabolic acidosis may cause:
  134. increased PTH levels.
  135. significantly reduced bone density.
  136. hypercalcemia.
  137. increased intestinal calcium absorption.
  138. All of the above
  139. To accurately diagnose a patient with renal leak hypercalciuria, one must identify both:
  140. increased intestinal calcium absorption and hyperthyroidism.
  141. renal leak of calcium and normal intestinal calcium absorption.
  142. hypoparathyroidism and increased intestinal calcium absorption.
  143. secondary hyperparathyroidism and renal calcium leak.
  144. primary hyperparathyroidism and increased intestinal calcium absorption.
  145. Which of the following findings would support the diagnosis of renal leak hypercalciuria?
  146. Hypocitraturia
  147. Low urinary pH
  148. Normocalciuria on a calcium-restricted diet
  149. Decreased urinary sodium with thiazide challenge
  150. Low or low/normal radial bone density
  151. The primary abnormality in patients with renal leak hypercalciuria is considered to be:
  152. impairment of renal tubular reabsorption of calcium.
  153. excessive mobilization of calcium from bone.
  154. increased 1,25-(OH)2vitamin D levels.
  155. elevation of serum PTH levels.
  156. hyperabsorption of intestinal calcium.
  157. Which of the following mechanisms explains the effectiveness of thiazides in treating patients with renal leak hypercalciuria? Thiazides:
  158. bind calcium in the intestinal tract.
  159. cause intracellular volume depletion.
  160. augment calcium reabsorption in the proximal tubule.
  161. directly inhibit calcium absorption.
  162. restore normal serum 1,25-(OH)2vitamin D levels.
  163. Which of the following are potential side effects of treatment with thiazides?
  164. Hypokalemia
  165. Hypocitraturia
  166. Hyperuricemia
  167. Hypomagnesuria
  168. All of the above
  169. The primary defect in patients with absorptive hypercalciuria is considered to be:
  170. hyperabsorption of intestinal calcium.
  171. hypersecretion of PTH.
  172. renal leak of calcium.
  173. bone disease.
  174. excessive dietary intake of calcium-containing foods.
  175. After 18 months of chlorthalidone treatment, a patient with hypercalciuria is doing well with no further stone formation. However, 8 months later, while still on thiazides, she passed a small stone. The most likely cause of her recurrent stone formation is:
  176. excessive intake of dietary calcium.
  177. inappropriate fluid management.
  178. excessive sodium intake.
  179. thiazide-induced hypocitraturia.
  180. cessation of medications.
  181. A patient with absorptive hypercalciuria is continued on chlorthalidone and potassium citrate without problems for 18 months and then passes two stones spontaneously. She claimes that she is still on her medications. The most likely cause of her continued stone formation is:
  182. excessive calcium intake.
  183. heterogeneous nucleation of calcium oxalate.
  184. high dietary sodium intake.
  185. bone mobilization of calcium.
  186. exacerbation of intestinal calcium absorption.
  187. The metabolic condition in a patient with absorptive hypercalciuria type II is:
  188. a less severe form of absorptive hypercalciuria type I.
  189. controlled by a calcium-restricted diet.
  190. not characterized by a renal leak of calcium.
  191. characterized by an increased intestinal absorption of calcium.
  192. all of the above.
  193. The most appropriate treatment in a patient with absorptive hypercalciuria type II may include all of the following EXCEPT:
  194. moderate intake of high calcium-containing foods.
  195. limit sodium intake.
  196. increase fluids to maintain urine volumes greater than 2 L/day.
  197. restrict dietary oxalate.
  198. begin potassium citrate.
  199. The metabolic abnormality most commonly seen after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery is:
  200. hypercalcuria.
  201. gouty diathesis.
  202. hyperuricosuria.
  203. hyperoxaluria.
  204. hypomagnesemia.


  1. A 50-year-old woman with chronic left back pain undergoes an intravenous urogram (IVU) depicted in Figure 52-1A(Scout film) and Figure 52-1B (3 minute excretory film). A spiral computed tomography (CT) scan (not shown) shows the filling defects depicted to measure 400 Hounsfield units. These findings are most suggestive of:


  1. urothelial carcinoma.
  2. uric acid calculi.
  3. calcium oxalate calculi.
  4. blood clots.
  5. drug calculi.


  1. b. Calcium oxalate.Patients with enteric hyperoxaluria are more likely to form calcium oxalate stones, owing to increased urinary excretion of oxalate and decreased inhibitory activity from hypocitraturia, secondary to chronic metabolic acidosis and hypomagnesuria. In addition, fluid loss from persistent diarrhea from inflammatory bowel disease may cause an extremely concentrated environment suitable for stone formation.
  2. e. Increased colonic absorption of free oxalate.Intestinal hyperabsorption of oxalate in patients with enteric hyperoxaluria is the most significant risk factor leading to recurrent calculus formation. Intestinal transport of oxalate is primarily increased because of the effects of bile salts and fatty acids on the permeability of colonic intestinal mucosa to oxalate. The total amount of oxalate absorbed may also be increased because of an enlarged intraluminal pool of oxalate available for absorption. Intestinal fat malabsorption characteristic of ileal disease will exaggerate calcium soap formation, limit the amount of "free" calcium to complex to oxalate, and thereby raise the oxalate pool available for absorption.
  3. e. All of the above. Acid-base status is probably the most important factor in the renal handling of citrate.Hypokalemia with its induced intracellular acidosis (caused by bicarbonate loss from chronic diarrhea) will reduce urinary citrate by both enhancing renal tubular resorption and reducing the synthesis of citrate. Therefore, in patients with enteric hyperoxaluria in whom bicarbonate loss and hypokalemia both contribute to metabolic acidosis, the hypocitraturia is often profound.
  4. a. Calcium supplements, potassium citrate, and increased oral fluid intake. The initial goals of medical management are to rehydrate and reverse metabolic acidosis.Hydration is at times difficult in some patients because an increase in oral fluids may exacerbate diarrhea. Hydration and potassium citrate will contribute to the reversal of the metabolic acidosis, as well as enhance the excretion of citrate to increase its inhibitory effects on stone formation. Calcium supplements will bind excess oxalate within the intestine, thereby reducing intestinal oxalate absorption. Calcium citrate may offer an ideal calcium supplement in this condition because it should reduce urinary oxalate and increase urinary citrate. Thiazides may worsen metabolic acidosis and hypokalemia through their diuretic effects and renal potassium losses. Colon resection may be of benefit in those patients refractory to medical management because the primary site of intestinal absorption of oxalate is the large bowel.
  5. b. Low urinary pH.Although low urine volumes and hyperuricosuria contribute to the possibility of uric acid stone formation, the most critical determinant of the crystallization of uric acid remains urinary pH. In addition, uric acid stones may be formed in patients with primary gout with associated severe hyperuricosuria and other secondary causes of purine overproduction such as myeloproliferative states, glycogen storage disease, and malignancy.
  6. a. Urine pH. Patients with gouty diathesis and uric acid stones will characteristically have urinary pH lower than the dissociation constant for uric acid (5.5).In fact, many will have a urine pH consistently close to 5. Whereas serum and urine uric acid levels may be elevated in patients with uric acid calculi, the urine pH remains the most cost-effective means of screening for this condition and monitoring therapy.
  7. e. Potassium citrate.Allopurinol will decrease the production of uric acid by inhibiting xanthine oxidase in the purine metabolic pathway but is most effective in patients with extremely elevated levels of uric acid (urinary uric acid > 1500 mg/day). In addition, increasing total urine volume will decrease the concentration of uric acid to assist in preventing stone formation. However, raising the urinary pH above the dissociation constant of uric acid is the key to preventing recurrent uric acid stone formation and correcting gouty diathesis. The urine pH should be maintained between 6.0 and 6.5. Thiazides and calcium restriction have limited roles in the medical treatment of uric acid stone patients.
  8. c. Increased solubility of uric acid.With adequate alkali therapy, this patient has been able to raise the urine pH above the dissociation constant of uric acid. The solubility of uric acid is more than 10 times greater at a pH of 7 than at a pH of 5. Therefore patients may initially present with low/normal 24-hour urinary uric acid levels because the uric acid will precipitate out of solution in the acid urinary environment. Once the urine has been alkalized, all of the uric acid will come back into solution, causing a significant increase in the measured urinary uric acid.
  9. d. Excess alkalization. Excessive alkalization with urinary pH values above 7.0 may result in calcium phosphate stone formation.Alkali therapy with potassium citrate should aim to keep the urinary pH between 6.5 and 7.0 when treating patients with gouty diathesis.
  10. a. Sodium-inhibiting calcium reabsorption in the proximal tubule.Patients treated with sodium alkali will occasionally begin forming calcium oxalate stones due to an excess sodium load that will inhibit reabsorption of calcium in the proximal tubule, thereby causing hypercalciuria. In addition, heterogeneous nucleation of calcium oxalate induced by monosodium urate may occur in those individuals with hyperuricosuria. Thus potassium-based alkali, usually in the form of potassium citrate, is the treatment of choice for patients with gouty diathesis.
  11. c. Magnesium ammonium phosphate.Ascending urinary tract infections with urea-splitting organisms such as Proteus species will metabolize urea to ammonia. Ammoniuria, in conjunction with a matrix composed of organic compounds, carbonate apatite, inflammatory cells, and bacteria, results in the rapid formation of an "infection" calculus, eventually progressing into a mineralized, dense stone. Bacteria trapped within the stone perpetuate the recurrent urinary tract infections, and further stone formation eventually develops into the classic staghorn calculus.
  12. b. Recurrent urinary tract infections.Etiologic factors involved with infection calculi include a history of recurrent urinary tract infections and potential anatomic or physiologic abnormalities. It is important to remember that these patients may also have underlying metabolic disorders such as hypercalciuria, which could contribute to the stone formation. These disorders are most commonly found in patients with mixed stone composition (i.e., struvite and calcium calculi). A comprehensive metabolic evaluation is warranted in these patients.
  13. a. Orthophosphate. "Struvite stones," "infection stones," or "triple-phosphate stones" all refer to calculi composed of magnesium ammonium phosphate or carbonate apatite.Because phosphate is a major component of these two salts, phosphate therapy would be contraindicated in cases of infection calculi because this medication may promote further stone formation.
  14. d. Irreversibly inhibiting urease.Acetohydroxamic acid (AHA), a competitive inhibitor of the bacterial enzyme urease, will reduce the urinary saturation of struvite and retard stone formation. When given at a dose of 250 mg orally three times a day, this medication can prevent the recurrence of new stones and inhibit the growth of existing stones in patients with chronic urea-splitting infections. AHA can also cause dissolution of small stones. However, up to 30% of patients will experience minor side effects including headache, nausea, vomiting, anemia, rash, and alopecia. In addition, 15% of patients have developed deep venous thrombosis while on long-term treatment. Therefore careful monitoring is required when using this medication.
  15. e. Cystinuria. Cystinuria is a complex autosomal recessive disorder of amino acid transport involving cystine, ornithine, lysine, and arginine (COLA). Supersaturation of the urine will occur in patients with the homozygous state. Therefore it is unusual to see a family history with cystine stones, and the age at onset is often in the first or second decade.
  16. b. Increasing the solubility of cystine.Increasing the solubility of cystine is the mainstay of treating this disorder. Therefore medical therapy is aimed at dissociating cystine into cysteine, which is 200 times more soluble than cystine. Solubility increases dramatically when this disulfide exchange occurs, effectively preventing further stone formation.
  17. d. Has equivalent efficacy at increasing solubility with reduced toxicity compared with d-penicillamine.d-Penicillamine and α-MPG are equally effective in their ability to decrease urinary cystine levels. However, studies have demonstrated that α-MPG is significantly less toxic than d-penicillamine. Moreover, the side effects that may occur with α-MPG are also less severe. However, if a patient has been doing well on d-penicillamine with no significant complications, there is no need to switch medications.
  18. c. Continued supersaturation of urinary cystine.The primary goal of medical therapy is to reduce the urinary cystine concentration below the solubility limit of 200 to 250 mg/L of urine. Because many of these patients present at a young age, compliance may be difficult. Even though this patient's cystine excretion has been reduced to 250 mg/day by the α-MPG therapy, his cystine concentration remains greater than 300 mg/L. Therefore a combination of medication along with an increased urine output is essential to reduce the urinary cystine concentration. Long-term follow-up is necessary to ensure urinary cystine beneath the saturation concentration.
  19. c. Inability to reduce the urine pH below 5.3.Renal tubular acidosis is a clinical syndrome of chronic metabolic acidosis resulting from renal tubular abnormalities while glomerular filtration is relatively well preserved. Although patients may present with many different symptoms and physical findings, renal stone formation is a well-recognized manifestation of distal renal tubular acidosis (dRTA). Patients with the incomplete form of dRTA are not persistently acidemic despite their inability to lower urinary pH with an acid load. These patients are able to compensate for their acidification defect and remain in acid-base balance by increasing ammonia synthesis and ammonium excretion as a buffering mechanism. The initial identification of incomplete dRTA is often a chance finding. Many of these patients will present with recurrent nephrolithiasis or may be referred for evaluation after the discovery of nephrocalcinosis after routine abdominal radiographs. Most patients will have normal serum electrolytes, yet they will have a high-normal urine pH along with significant hypocitraturia. The diagnosis of incomplete dRTA can be confirmed by inadequate urinary acidification after an ammonium chloride loading test.
  20. b. Absorptive hypercalciuria type I.Urinary citrate is a potent inhibitor of stone formation, particularly in excess of 600 mg/day on a 24-hour urine collection. Hypocitraturia can be a result of any acidotic state because acidosis will cause both decreased endogenous renal citrate production and increased renal tubular absorption of citrate. Hypokalemia induced by thiazide wasting of potassium will cause intracellular metabolic acidosis, thus using citrate and reducing excretion in a manner similar to metabolic acidosis. Chronic diarrheal syndromes promote intestinal loss of alkali and dehydration, resulting in metabolic acidosis and reduced urinary citrate levels.
  21. e. Potassium alkali.In the past, sodium alkali has been the treatment of choice for chronic therapy in patients with distal renal tubular acidosis. It was given in the form of either sodium bicarbonate or Shohl solution (a combination of sodium citrate and citric acid). Although sodium alkali is beneficial in correcting the acidosis, excess sodium may be detrimental to calcium metabolism, especially with respect to nephrolithiasis. Sodium alkali therapy has been complicated by the development of calcium stones (calcium phosphate or calcium oxalate), especially when the urinary pH is above 7. Potassium citrate has been shown to reduce the excretion of urinary calcium, whereas sodium alkali has no effect on urinary calcium. Therefore potassium alkali, usually in the form of potassium citrate (POLYCITRA-K, ALVA Pharmaceuticals, Mountain View, CA; Urocit-K, Mission Pharmacal Company, Mountain View, CA), is the recommended first-line therapy.
  22. a. Hypercalciuria and hypocitraturia.Hypocitraturia, commonly seen in patients with distal renal tubular acidosis, promotes the formation of nephrolithiasis due to reduced inhibitory action of urinary citrate. In addition, hypercalciuria will occur due to mobilization of calcium from bone and impaired renal tubular absorption of calcium, both as a result of chronic acidosis.
  23. b. Significantly reduced bone density.It is well established that metabolic acidosis may cause a negative calcium balance as a result of impaired renal tubular reabsorption of calcium in the proximal tubule, leading to excessive renal loss of calcium. In addition, intestinal calcium absorption is diminished in patients with persistent acidosis. Slow dissolution of bone mineral can also be identified as calcium and phosphate act as buffering mechanisms to correct the acidosis. Chronic acidosis has been cited as a major factor in the genesis of bone disease.
  24. d. Secondary hyperparathyroidism and renal calcium leak. To confirm the diagnosis of renal hypercalciuria, evidence for secondary hyperparathyroidism and renal leak of calcium must be present.Both of these values can be obtained during the fasting urinary calcium test. Before arrival at the physician's office, it is essential that patients adhere to a calcium- and sodium-restricted diet for at least 12 hours before testing to eliminate the effects of absorbed calcium on fasting calcium excretion. Three hundred mL of distilled water is consumed 12 and 9 hours before the fasting urine collection to ensure adequate hydration. At 7 am, patients empty their bladder completely, discard the urine, and drink another 600 mL of distilled water. Urine is then collected as a pooled sample for a 2-hour period (7 am to 9 am). A fasting serum blood is obtained at the end of the 2-hour period. The serum sample is analyzed for PTH levels. The fasting urine sample is assayed for calcium and creatinine. Fasting urinary calcium is expressed as milligrams per deciliter of glomerular filtrate because it is reflective of renal function. To obtain this value, urinary calcium in milligrams per milligram of creatinine is multiplied by serum creatinine in milligrams per deciliter. Normal fasting urinary calcium is less than 0.11 mg/dL glomerular filtrate.
  25. e. Low or low/normal radial bone density.Patients with renal hypercalciuria may display a low or low/normal radial bone density. The diminished bone density is a result of the secondary hyperparathyroidism, which causes stimulation of PTH and subsequent production of 1,25-(OH)2 vitamin D. Both PTH and vitamin D will act on bone to mobilize calcium and cause a loss in bone density. Calcium restriction has no effect in managing renal hypercalciuria.
  26. a. Impairment of renal tubular reabsorption of calcium. The primary abnormality in renal hypercalciuria is an impairment in proximal renal tubular calcium reabsorption.This urinary calcium wasting and subsequent reduction in serum calcium concentration stimulates the production of PTH. As a result, vitamin D synthesis in the kidney is stimulated. Both PTH and vitamin D will increase bone resorption and absorption of intestinal calcium, increasing the circulating concentration and filtered load of calcium. This often causes significant hypercalciuria. Unlike primary hyperparathyroidism, serum calcium is normal and the state of hyperparathyroidism is secondary.
  27. c. Augment calcium reabsorption in the proximal tubule.Thiazide is the primary medical treatment of renal hypercalciuria and has been shown to correct the renal leak of calcium by augmenting calcium reabsorption in the distal tubule. In addition, thiazides cause extracellular volume depletion, thereby stimulating proximal tubular reabsorption of calcium. A positive calcium balance ensues, with correction of the secondary hyperparathyroidism.
  28. e. All of the aboveThiazide diuretics can cause hypokalemia. Symptoms of hypokalemia include muscle cramps and weakness. Consideration should be given to starting patients concurrently on potassium supplementation with potassium citrate, as patients can also become hypocitraturic.It is reasonable to check a basic metabolic panel 1 to 2 weeks after initiating a thiazide to monitor potassium levels. Thiazides can also cause low urinary citrate and magnesium. In addition, they can lead to impaired carbohydrate metabolism and hyperuricemia. A small percentage of patients may also have sexual side effects including decreased libido or erectile dysfunction.
  29. a. Hyperabsorption of intestinal calcium.The basic abnormality in absorptive hypercalciuria type I is the intestinal hyperabsorption of calcium. The consequent increase in the circulating concentration of calcium enhances the renal filtered load and suppresses parathyroid function. Hypercalciuria results from the combination of increased filtered load and reduced renal tubular reabsorption of calcium, a function of parathyroid suppression. The excessive renal loss of calcium compensates for the high calcium absorption from the intestinal tract and helps to maintain serum calcium in the normal range.
  30. d. Thiazide-induced hypocitraturia.Intracellular acidosis resulting from thiazide-induced hypokalemia will augment renal tubular reabsorption of citrate with resultant hypocitraturia. The reduction in the inhibitory effects of hypocitraturia may promote further stone formation. Therefore potassium repletion is necessary if long-term thiazide treatment is anticipated. Our potassium supplement of choice is potassium citrate, in either pill or liquid preparations.
  31. c. High dietary sodium intake.A high dietary sodium intake has two deleterious effects in this case. An excess sodium load will inhibit reabsorption of calcium in the proximal tubule, thereby causing hypercalciuria. Moreover, sodium will block the hypocalciuric action of thiazides. Therefore patients placed on thiazide diuretics for management of hypercalciuria should also be placed on a dietary sodium restriction.
  32. e. All of the above.Absorptive hypercalciuria type II is believed to be a less severe form of absorptive hypercalciuria type I. Placing a patient on a calcium-restricted diet will normalize his or her urinary calcium excretion. However, patients with hypercalciuria type I have a high urinary calcium excretion despite dietary modifications. Appropriate therapy for absorptive hypercalciuria type II would be to moderate calcium intake and maintain a high fluid intake to maintain urine output greater than 2 L/day. A severe dietary calcium restriction is not indicated because significant dietary modifications may exacerbate stone disease.
  33. d. Restrict dietary oxalate.Initial treatment of patients diagnosed with absorptive hypercalciuria type II includes moderating dietary calcium intake to reduce the filtered calcium load, increasing fluid intake to maintain urine output greater than 2 L/day, limiting sodium intake to reduce the calciuric effects of sodium on proximal tubular reabsorption of calcium, and initiating potassium citrate to alkalize the urine and reduce calcium stone formation.
  34. d. Hyperoxaluria.Roux-en-Y gastric bypass has been shown to lead to significantly increased urinary oxalate. Other metabolic abnormalities seen in patients with Roux-en-Y gastric bypass include low urine volumes and hypocitraturia. In contrast, restrictive bariatric surgery such as gastric band or sleeve do not lead to hyperoxaluria. These patients have low urine volumes as their primary metabolic abnormality.


  1. b. Uric acid calculi.The scout radiograph from the IVU (Fig. 52-1A) shows no densely radiopaque calculi. On the excretory images (Fig. 52-1B), there are well-demarcated filling defects with a staghorn configuration in the left renal pelvis and detached round calculi in the mildly hydronephrotic upper pole calyces. Calcium oxalate or cystine calculi should be much more radiopaque on the scout radiograph and would have Hounsfield units above 600. Uric acid calculi are often not seen on a KUB and have densities in the 400 to 600 Hounsfield range, thus making b the most likely possibility. Urothelial carcinoma will not have a smooth and rounded configuration to the filling defects in the collecting system, and their density will be similar to tissue. Drug calculi occur in patients on protease inhibitor therapy for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections. They tend to be tiny in size, cause ureteral obstruction, and are unlikely to be visible on an IVU.

Chapter review

  1. First-time stone formers are at a 50% risk for recurrence. Males have both a higher incidence of calculi and a higher recurrence rate.
  2. Infection calculi may contain large quantities of endotoxin.
  3. A complete urine collection is confirmed by the 24-hour excretion of creatinine. On average 1 mg/kg/hour is excreted.
  4. As the phosphate content of the stone increases from calcium oxalate to calcium oxalate/calcium apatite to calcium apatite, the incidence of renal tubular acidosis increases from 5% to 39% and the incidence of primary hyperthyroidism from 2% to 10%. Thus higher phosphate content in stones correlates with an increased incidence of renal tubular acidosis and primary hyperparathyroidism.
  5. Obesity increases the risk of nephrolithiasis.
  6. Hypercalciuria not associated with hypercalcemia may be subdivided into (1) excess gastrointestinal absorption, (2) renal tubular leak, or (3) normocalcemic hyperparathyroidism.
  7. Patients with hyperuricosuria have increased calcium oxalate urolithiasis due to heterogeneous nucleation.
  8. Increased protein intake increases the likelihood of renal stones due to increased urinary calcium, oxalate, and uric acid excretion. Moderate calcium ingestion and a reduced sodium diet, when combined with animal protein restriction, reduce calcium stone episodes by approximately 50%.
  9. Thiazides may unmask primary hyperparathyroidism by causing a marked rise in serum calcium. They also cause hypocitraturia.
  10. Indinavir stones may not be visible on CT.
  11. Furosemide-induced nephrolithiasis should always be considered in neonates who develop nephrolithiasis.
  12. Children with stones should always be worked up because inborn errors of metabolism may be responsible for the stones in a significant number of patients. The inborn errors of metabolism most commonly found in this circumstance include cystinuria, renal tubular acidosis, and primary hyperoxaluria.
  13. Patients with diabetes mellitus may have altered ammonium metabolism resulting in acidic urine that predisposes them to calcium oxalate and/or uric acid calculi.
  14. Sulfate content in a 24-hour urine is an indication of the amount of protein intake. Protein intake increases calcium, oxalate, and uric acid excretion.
  15. Intestinal fat malabsorption characteristic of ileal disease will exaggerate calcium soap formation, limit the amount of "free" calcium to complex to oxalate, and thereby raise the oxalate pool available for absorption.
  16. Acid-base status is probably the most important factor in the renal handling of citrate.
  17. The primary site of intestinal absorption of oxalate is the large bowel.
  18. The solubility of uric acid is more than 10 times greater at a pH of 7 than at a pH of 5.
  19. Sodium alkali therapy has been complicated by the development of calcium stones (calcium phosphate or calcium oxalate), especially when the urinary pH is above 7.