Objective: To correlate renal calculi and other clinical factors with urinary biochemical analytes in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, and to investigate the relative importance of hyperoxaluria (associated with fat malabsorption) or reduced stone inhibitors in the development of calculi in these patients.
Patients, subjects and methods: Samples were obtained from 25 patients with Crohn's disease (CD), 15 with ulcerative colitis (UC) and 17 normal subjects (controls). Evidence for the presence of renal calculi was obtained from plain films, ultrasonography or intravenous urography. Urine oxalate and citrate were analysed using commercial enzymatic assays; magnesium was measured using atomic absorption and other analytes assayed using standard methods on automated analysers.
Results: Renal calculi were found in two patients with CD and in none with UC. Hyperoxaluria was present in 36% of patients with CD but was absent in those with UC. Analysis of covariance showed an association between low urinary citrate/creatinine ratio and renal stones (P=0.02), and between a combined urinary citrate and magnesium deficit relative to calcium, as expressed in the CMC index ((citratexmagnesium)/calcium), and renal stones (P=0.017). Changes in urinary calcium, oxalate, urate, magnesium or the calcium oxalate index were not associated with the presence of stones. There was no independent relationship between any clinical factor and the presence of stones.
Conclusion: Lower urinary concentrations of magnesium and citrate (stone inhibitors), relative to calcium (stone promoter; the CMC index) may be more important in lithogenesis in inflammatory bowel disease than is hyperoxaluria. In patients with a functioning colon, a low CMC index may predict likely stone-formers; this requires a prospective evaluation. Avoiding low urinary levels of magnesium and citrate may aid in preventing and treating renal calculi.