Trends in imaging and surgical management of pediatric urolithiasis at American pediatric hospitals

J Urol. 2010 Oct;184(4 Suppl):1816-22. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2010.03.117. Epub 2010 Aug 21.


Purpose: Little is known of current practice patterns for pediatric urolithiasis. We examined recent trends in imaging and surgical management.

Materials and methods: The Pediatric Health Information System database is a national database collected at American pediatric hospitals. We searched the database from 1999 to 2008 to identify children diagnosed with urolithiasis. Inpatient hospital admissions, and emergency department and outpatient medical/surgical short stay visits were included. We examined imaging and surgical management trends during the study period using bivariate and multivariate logistic regression models.

Results: We identified 7,921 children diagnosed with urolithiasis during the study period, of whom 1,712 (22%) underwent stone related surgery and 6,318 (80%) underwent stone related diagnostic imaging. The surgery rate remained stable during the study period (p = 0.15), as did the overall imaging rate (p = 0.2). However, computerized tomography use increased (26% to 45%) and plain x-ray of kidneys, ureters and bladder plus excretory urogram use decreased (59% to 38%) during the study period (each p <0.0001). Surgery was associated with older patient age, female gender, white race and private insurance. Computerized tomography use was associated with older patient age, nonwhite race and public insurance. After adjusting for other factors, including hospital region, the treating hospital was most important for predicting surgery or computerized tomography (each p <0.0001).

Conclusions: Surgery and imaging for pediatric urolithiasis remained stable at pediatric hospitals in the last decade, although computerized tomography use has increased. The hospital where a patient receives treatment is the single most important feature driving computerized tomography and surgery use. Patient age, race and insurance status have a smaller but significant role.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Pediatric
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / trends*
  • Radiography
  • United States
  • Urolithiasis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Urolithiasis / surgery*