YouTube as a source of information on kidney stone disease

Urology. 2011 Mar;77(3):558-62. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2010.07.536. Epub 2010 Dec 4.


Objective: To look into effective use of popular Internet site YouTube as an information source on kidney stone disease. Urolithiasis is among the most common urological conditions, accounting for significant morbidity, however adequate education regarding simple lifestyle modifications and early recognition of symptoms can reduce recurrence and visits to emergency department.

Materials and methods: YouTube was searched using Keywords "nephrolithiasis"; "renal calculi"; "renal stones"; and "kidney stones" for videos uploaded containing relevant information about the disease. Only videos in English were included. Two physician viewers watched each video and classified them as useful; misleading; or personal experiences. The kappa-statistic was used to measure inter-observer variability. Total-viewership; duration; rating; days since upload; source; and information content were noted

Results: One-hundred ninety-nine videos had relevant information about nephrolithiasis; 58.3% of the videos had useful information and 18.1% were misleading. Useful videos had 47.2% of total viewership (i.e. total no. of views) share, whereas misleading videos had 2.8%, with statistically significant difference in viewership/day and rating among useful videos vs misleading videos. Universities'channel videos provided the best overall information coverage among the useful videos (prevention = 100%, symptoms = 80%, treatments = 60%, other information = 80%). No significant difference was seen in viewership/day or rating of useful videos based on the kind of information they contained.

Conclusions: YouTube has a substantial amount of information on urolithiasis. Therefore, consumer-generated outlets such as YouTube have significant potential to sway individuals' attitudes both for and against the right choice. In view of this, authoritative videos by trusted sources should be posted for dissemination of reliable information.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Kidney Calculi*
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Video Recording*