Kidney stones and subclinical atherosclerosis in young adults: the CARDIA study

J Urol. 2011 Mar;185(3):920-5. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2010.10.086. Epub 2011 Jan 19.


Purpose: Recent reports suggest that nephrolithiasis and atherosclerosis share a number of risk factors. To our knowledge there has been no previous examination of the relationship between kidney stones and subclinical atherosclerotic disease. We studied the relationship between nephrolithiasis, and carotid wall thickness and carotid stenosis assessed by B-mode ultrasound in the general community using data from the CARDIA study.

Materials and methods: The CARDIA study is a United States, population based, observational study of 5,115 white and African-American men and women between the ages of 18 and 30 years at recruitment in 1985 to 1986.

Results: By the year 20 examination 200 (3.9%) CARDIA participants had reported ever having kidney stones. Symptomatic kidney stones were associated with greater carotid wall thickness measured at the year 20 examination, particularly of the internal carotid/bulb region. Using a composite dichotomous end point of carotid stenosis and/or the upper quartile of internal carotid/bulb wall thickness, the association of kidney stones with carotid atherosclerosis was significant (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1-2.3, p=0.01), even after adjusting for major atherosclerotic risk factors.

Conclusions: The association between a history of kidney stones and subclinical carotid atherosclerosis in young adults adds further support to the notion that nephrolithiasis and atherosclerosis share common systemic risk factors and/or pathophysiology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Atherosclerosis / complications*
  • Atherosclerosis / epidemiology
  • Carotid Stenosis / complications*
  • Carotid Stenosis / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Calculi / complications*
  • Kidney Calculi / epidemiology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult