Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of the management of paediatric urolithiasis by extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), endoscopic ureterolithotomy, percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) and open nephrolithotomy.
Patients and methods: In a 3-year period (1997-1999), 59 children were treated for urolithiasis and underwent a total of 79 procedures. Thirty-two ESWL sessions were performed in 23 children (mean age 7.4 years, median 6.0). PCNL was undertaken in 30 renal units in 25 children (mean age 6.4 years, median 4.0). Eight patients (mean age 7.8 years, median 5) underwent 17 ureteroscopic procedures, six of which involved the use of a holmium laser. Three children with staghorn calculi underwent open nephrolithotomy under conditions of renal ischaemia and hypothermia.
Results: Of the 23 children treated using ESWL, 21 (91%) became stone-free; 17 underwent one ESWL session (74%), three had two sessions and three (13%) had three sessions. All eight patients who underwent ureteroscopy became stone-free. Four patients in whom the stone could not be reached by ureteroscopy initially had a JJ stent inserted, and the stone and stent subsequently removed. Stones were cleared using PCNL in 27 of 30 renal units (90%); three patients who had residual stone fragments were rendered stone-free by ESWL. Two of three children undergoing open nephrolithotomy were stone-free after surgery and the remaining one rendered stone-free with ESWL. Metabolic evaluation showed that 25 of 45 children (55%) had a urinary infection, eight (18%) had hyperoxaluria, three (7%) had hypercalciuria, two (4%) had cystinuria, and no identifiable cause was found in seven (16%). Treatment by a single modality rendered 52 of the 59 children (88%) stone-free; when the different modalities were combined, 57 of 59 patients (97%) were cleared of their stones.
Conclusions: Technological advances in ESWL, ureteroscopy and PCNL have had a significant effect on the management of urolithiasis in children, allowing a safe and successful outcome. The comprehensive care of children with urolithiasis should include a full metabolic evaluation. Anatomical anomalies contribute to the complexity of many cases, necessitating a close liaison between adult and paediatric urologists, nephrologists and radiologists to optimize stone management in children.