Tag Archive for: staghorn stones


Article of the Month: Surgical outcomes of PCNL and results of stone analysis

Every Month the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Month from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an accompanying editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community. This blog is intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation.

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

Surgical outcomes of percutaneous nephrolithotomy in 3402 patients and results of stone analysis in 1559 patients

Syed Adibul Hasan Rizvi*, Manzoor Hussain*, Syed Hassan Askari*, Altaf Hashmi*,Murli Lal* and Mirza Naqi Zafar


*Departments of Urology, and Pathology, Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation, Civil Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan



To report our experience of a series of percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) procedures in a single centre over 18 years in terms of patient and stone characteristics, indications, stone clearance and complications, along with the results of chemical analysis of stones in a subgroup.

Patients and Methods

We retrospectively analysed the outcomes of PCNL in 3402 patients, who underwent the procedure between 1997 and 2014, obtained from a prospectively maintained database. Data analysis included patients’ age and sex, laboratory investigations, imaging, punctured calyx, duration of operation, volume of irrigation fluid, radiation exposure time, blood transfusion, complications and stone-free status at 1-month follow-up. For the present analysis, outcomes in relation to complications and success were divided in two eras, 1997–2005 and 2006–2014, to study the differences.


Of the 3402 patients, 2501 (73.5%) were male and 901 (26.5%) were female, giving a male:female ratio of 2.8:1. Staghorn (partial or complete) calculi were found in 27.5% of patients, while 72.5% had non-staghorn calculi. Intracorporeal energy sources used for stone fragmentation included ultrasonography in 917 patients (26.9%), pneumatic lithoclast in 1820 (53.5%), holmium laser in 141 (4.1%) and Lithoclast® master in 524 (15.4%). In the majority of patients (97.4%) a 18–22-F nephrostomy tube was placed after the procedure, while 69 patients (2.03%) underwent tubeless PCNL. The volume of the irrigation fluid used ranged from 7 to 37 L, with a mean of 28.4 L. The stone-free rate after PCNL in the first era studied was 78%, vs 83.2% in the second era, as assessed by combination of ultrasonography and plain abdominal film of the kidney, ureter and bladder. The complication rate in the first era was 21.3% as compared with 10.3% in the second era, and this difference was statistically significant. Stone analysis showed pure stones in 41% and mixed stones in 58% of patients. The majority of stones consisted of calcium oxalate.


This is the largest series of PCNL reported from any single centre in Pakistan, where there is a high prevalence of stone disease associated with infective and obstructive complications, including renal failure. PCNL as a treatment method offers an economic and effective option in the management of renal stone disease with acceptable stone clearance rates in a resource-constrained healthcare system.

Editorial: Management of urolithiasis in South Asia

The article by Rizvi et al. [1] makes a great read. The authors deserve credit for their work and the data presented. A few points merit mention to summarise and put the article in perspective.

First, the authors present a mammoth database from a public sector hospital in Pakistan. In the initial era, as noted by the authors, they adopted extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL) as their mainstay for treating stones. ESWL as the least invasive, safe and readily available method remained the preferred option initially. However, stones seen in South Asia differ from those in the West. In this geographical area, the stone bulk is large and often not amenable to ESWL. In the subsequent period, the authors changed to percutaneous surgery. The reason for this shift, apart from large stone burden, may also have been influenced by local facto required to be travelled by patients to reach a healthcare facility and the lack of resources and infrastructure in remote locations. In such situations, the treatment option that offers rapid, safe, and efficacious results would be preferred. These criteria are fulfilled with the percutaneous approach to renal stones and this is what the authors did!

Second, it is worthwhile noting that that the need for embolisation and/or nephrectomy is a miniscule number in this series [1]. This emphasises the importance of the basic tenet in percutaneous renal surgery that a perfect initial access is the secret to successful percutaneous removal of stones. It should be noted that in this large series the complications across all Clavien–Dindo complication grades reduced as the authors ascended the learning curve.

Third, we feel the major limitation of this study [1] was the means of assessing the stone-free rate. The authors used a combination of ultrasonography and plain abdominal radiograph of the kidneys, ureters and bladder. As acknowledged by the authors this could have possibly overestimated the stone-free rates and skewed the data and interpretation. The authors can substantiate these findings in further prospective studies.

Fourth, the paper exemplifies that stone composition, choice of approach, and patient preferences vary from region to region globally. The findings in the study [1] are similar to the results of Desai et al. [2] from India.

Last but not the least, the AUA guidelines [3] state that the optimal strategy for stone management must take into consideration patient health and economic outcomes. Stone-free requirement is global but economic implications are regional. In this context, the treatment options for similar sized stones may vary for a particular patient located in Europe or Asia. Hence, we feel this paper could be considered as a benchmark for future multicentre trials investigating treatment options and strategies for urolithiasis in South Asia.

Mahesh R. Desai and Arvind P. Ganpule
Department of Urology, Muljibhai Patel Urological Hospital, Nadiad, Gujarat, India





1 Rizvi SAHussain MAskari SHHashmi ALal MZafar MN. Surgical outcomes of percutaneous nephrolithotomy in 3402 patients and results of stone analysis in 1559 patients from a single centre in Pakistan. BJUInt 2017; 120: 7029


2 Desai MJain PGanpule ASabnis RPatel SShrivastav PDevelopments in technique and technology: the effect on the results of percutaneous nephrolithotomy for staghorn calculi. BJU Int 2009; 104:5428


3 Assimos DKrambeck AMiller NL et al. Surgical management of stones: American Urological Association/Endourological Society Guideline. Available at: https://www.auanet.org/guidelines/surgical-management-of-stones-(aua/endourological-society-guideline-2016). Accessed August 2017


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