Changes in stone composition according to age and gender of patients: a multivariate epidemiological approach

Urol Res. 2004 Jun;32(3):241-7. doi: 10.1007/s00240-004-0421-y. Epub 2004 May 4.


Urinary stone incidence and composition have changed markedly over the past half-century in industrialized countries, in parallel with profound changes in living standards and dietary habits, with a dramatic increase in the incidence of calcium oxalate stones. However, studies evaluating the influence of age and gender on the distribution of the various types of urinary calculi are scarce. We report the results of a study based on 27,980 calculi (from 19,442 males and 8,538 females) analyzed by infrared spectroscopy between 1976 and 2001. The relationships between age and sex and stone composition were investigated using a multivariate approach, based on correspondence factor analysis (CFA). We found a male predominance for calcium oxalate and uric acid, a female preponderance for calcium phosphate and struvite stones, and an increasing prevalence of uric acid stones with age in both genders. CFA was able to reconstruct in blind the age curve from stone composition. The first two axes of the multidimensional classification, which correspond to age, included 86.9% of the total variance, indicating that age was the main factor involved in stone type. Superimposition of age classes and stone components showed a strong relationship between age and whewellite, weddellite, brushite, carbapatite, octacalcium phosphate and uric acid, while other substances (whitlockite, amorphous carbonated calcium phosphate, struvite, proteins, mucopolysaccharides, triglycerides or ammonium urate) appeared weakly related to age. In addition, CFA suggests the role of common lithogenic factors between weddellite, carbapatite and brushite, which clustered in the same area, whereas the various crystalline forms of phosphate stones segregated into two different clusters, suggesting distinct pathogenic factors. In conclusion, this study provides a picture of the present epidemiology of urinary stones in France. CFA helped to confirm: (1) an etiopathogenic distinction between weddellite and whewellite, (2) etiopathogenic associations between chemical compounds, which were only suspected on a clinical basis, and (3) suggested yet unrecognized associations, especially with respect to the heterogeneous group of phosphate stones.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Distribution
  • Urinary Calculi / chemistry*
  • Urinary Calculi / epidemiology*