Tag Archive for: #UroStone


Video: Surgical outcomes of PCNL and results of stone analysis

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



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: The importance of citrate in patients with calcium stones and loss of bone mineral density

Stone disease and osteopaenia are both common conditions, and reduced bone mineral density (BMD) is an increasingly recognized complication in stone formers; indeed, in a previous paper in BJUI, Arrabal-Polo et al. reported that patients with recurrent stones have lower BMD compared with controls or patients with just a single episode of urolithiasis.

Although the exact pathogenesis of bone loss in stone disease is yet to be determined, the conceptually obvious relationship with hypercalciuria is well documented. In the present study, Arrabal-Polo et al. emphasise that hypocitraturia is also associated with reduced BMD. Furthermore, they found a higher calcium : citrate ratio in patients with a cumulative maximum stone diameter > 20 mm, or in those with frequent recurrences than in controls, and found that this correlated with higher levels of β-crosslaps, consistent with increased bone resorption in these patients.

We commented in our previous editorial that metabolic abnormalities should be sought in recurrent stone formers, and managed in a multi-disciplinary setting. In addition to dietary advice, options for treatment include bisphosphonates (which inhibit bone resorption, and are commonly used in osteoporosis), thiazide diuretics (which reduce calcium excretion and can increase BMD) and potassium citrate (which acts as an alkalinizing agent mitigating the bone restorative effect of acidosis). This approach is supported by recent data in medullary sponge kidneys, in which hypercalciuria and hypocitraturia were commonly detected in association with reduced BMD. Patients who were treated with potassium citrate were found to have increased urinary pH citrate levels, and an improvement in their BMD.

In the present article, Arrabal-Polo et al. suggest using a calcium : citrate ratio of 0.25 for predicting the risk of future recurrent stone formation, but this value could equally be used to predict the risk of patients having reduced BMD and the complications that may follow. Either way, their findings strengthen the argument for metabolic screening of recurrent stone formers, and for an assessment of these patients’ BMD. Patients can then be appropriately treated with a thiazide diuretic, potassium citrate, or a bisphosphonate, either singly or in combination, according to the abnormalities detected and their progress on treatment.

Daron Smith
Stone and Endourology Unit, University College Hospital, London, UK

Chris Laing
UCL Centre for Nephrology, Royal Free Hospital London, London, UK

© 2020 BJU International. All Rights Reserved.