Long-term treatment with potassium citrate and renal stones in medullary sponge kidney

Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2010 Sep;5(9):1663-8. doi: 10.2215/CJN.00220110. Epub 2010 Jun 24.


Background and objectives: Medullary sponge kidney (MSK) is a renal malformation typically associated with nephrocalcinosis and recurrent calcium stones. Incomplete distal renal tubular acidosis, hypocitraturia, and hypercalciuria are common. For stone prevention, patients with MSK generally receive the standard "stone clinic" recommendations and often receive potassium citrate (KC). However, the effect on stone recurrence of citrate treatment in these patients has never been studied.

Design, setting, participants, & measurements: The issue was retrospectively analyzed on an outpatient basis in 97 patients with a radiologic diagnosis of MSK: 65 had at least one stone risk factor (SRF; hypercalciuria, hypocitraturia, hyperuricosuria, hyperoxaluria) and received KC [29 +/- 8 (SD) mEq/d]; 10 patients with SRF and 22 without received only general stone clinic suggestions. Follow-up was 78 +/- 13, 72 +/- 15, and 83 +/- 14 months, respectively. The 24-hour urinary excretion of calcium, oxalate, uric acid, citrate, and morning urine pH were investigated at baseline and at the end of follow-up.

Results: Parallel to a significant rise in urinary citrate and decreased urinary calcium (all P < 0.001), KC led to a dramatic reduction in the stone event rate (from 0.58 to 0.10 stones/yr per patient). The existence of a group of patients with MSK, those without SRF, with a very low stone rate and no SRF was recognized.

Conclusions: Treatment with KC is effective in preventing renal stones in the typical patient with MSK. It seems that two clinical phenotypes among patients showing typical MSK features during radiologic study exist.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Italy
  • Kidney Calculi / etiology
  • Kidney Calculi / prevention & control*
  • Kidney Calculi / urine
  • Male
  • Medullary Sponge Kidney / complications
  • Medullary Sponge Kidney / diagnostic imaging
  • Medullary Sponge Kidney / drug therapy*
  • Medullary Sponge Kidney / urine
  • Potassium Citrate / administration & dosage*
  • Radiography
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Potassium Citrate