Causes and consequences of kidney loss in patients with nephrolithiasis

Kidney Int. 2003 Dec;64(6):2204-13. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1755.2003.00317.x.


Background: It is unknown whether stone formers may safely donate a kidney. Nephrectomy could accelerate stone formation, or loss of filtration with age. We contrast, here, the course of stone patients with two versus one kidney.

Methods: One hundred fifteen patients with a single functioning kidney were compared with 3151 patients with two kidneys. Cause of kidney loss was determined, along with stone types, rates of stone formation, urine stone risk factors, and creatinine clearance.

Results: Women were 49.6% of the patients with kidney loss, compared to 33.6% of ordinary stone formers. Obstruction, stone burden, and infection were the most common reasons for kidney loss. We found an increased number of struvite and calcium phosphate stones among single kidney patients. Before and during treatment, single kidney patients had fewer stones than ordinary stone formers. Creatinine clearance was lower in the single kidney patients; rate of loss of kidney function with age was higher among single kidney males versus two kidney males if all patients are considered. Among males >age 45 years, the difference disappears. Females with one and two kidneys lost function with age at equivalent rates. Compared with nonstone formers, male stone formers lose kidney function with age at an accelerated rate.

Conclusion: Nephrectomy does not worsen stone disease. It may increase loss of renal function among younger males. The pattern of renal function loss with age differs between stone formers and nonstone formers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Creatinine / metabolism
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney / physiopathology*
  • Kidney Calculi / complications*
  • Kidney Calculi / etiology
  • Kidney Calculi / metabolism
  • Kidney Calculi / physiopathology*
  • Kidney Diseases / complications*
  • Kidney Diseases / surgery*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrectomy* / adverse effects
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Time Factors


  • Creatinine