Kidney stones: a global picture of prevalence, incidence, and associated risk factors

Rev Urol. Spring 2010;12(2-3):e86-96.


The prevalence and incidence of nephrolithiasis is reported to be increasing across the world. Herein, we review information regarding stone incidence and prevalence from a global perspective. A literature search using PubMed and Ovid was performed to identify peer-reviewed journal articles containing information on the incidence and prevalence of kidney stones. Key words used included kidney stone prevalence, incidence, and epidemiology. Data were collected from the identified literature and sorted by demographic factors and time period. A total of 75 articles were identified containing kidney stone-related incidence or prevalence data from 20 countries; 34 provided suitable information for review. Data regarding overall prevalence or incidence for more than a single time period were found for 7 countries (incidence data for 4 countries; prevalence data for 5 countries). These included 5 European countries (Italy, Germany, Scotland, Spain, and Sweden), Japan, and the United States. The body of evidence suggests that the incidence and prevalence of kidney stones is increasing globally. These increases are seen across sex, race, and age. Changes in dietary practices may be a key driving force. In addition, global warming may influence these trends.

Keywords: Epidemiology; Kidney stones; Nephrolithiasis; Stone incidence.