Flexible ureteroscopy and holmium:YAG laser lithotripsy for stone disease in patients with bleeding diathesis: a systematic review of the literature

Int Braz J Urol. 2012 May-Jun;38(3):298-305; discussion 306. doi: 10.1590/s1677-55382012000300002.


Introduction and objectives: The management of urolithiasis in patients on anticoagulants presents a challenge to the endourologist. Due to multiple comorbidities, it may be impossible to safely discontinue the anticoagulant treatment. Other modalities such as shock wave lithotripsy and PCNL are contraindicated in these patients, so ureteroscopic treatment may be the only option. We conducted a systematic review of the literature to look at the safety and efficacy of ureteroscopic management in these patients.

Methods: Systematic review and quantitative meta-analysis was performed using studies identified by a systematic electronic literature search from January 1990 to August 2011. All articles reporting on treatment for stones in patients with a bleeding diathesis using ureteroscopy and a Holmium:YAG laser were included. Two reviewers independently extracted the data from each study. The data was included into a meta-analysis and discussed.

Results: Three studies were identified reporting on 70 patients (73 procedures). All patients had stone fragmentation using Holmium laser. The mean stone size was 13.2mm with a range of 5-35 mm. The quality of the included studies was modest. Stone free status was achieved in sixty-four patients (87.7%). There were no major complications and only 11% of the patients developed minor complications with only 4% rate of minor bleeding.

Conclusions: Retrograde stone treatment using ureteroscopy and holmium laser lithotripsy can be safely performed in patients with bleeding diathesis with a low complication rate.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants / administration & dosage*
  • Anticoagulants / adverse effects
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Hemorrhagic Disorders / complications*
  • Humans
  • Lasers, Solid-State / therapeutic use
  • Lithotripsy, Laser / adverse effects
  • Lithotripsy, Laser / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ureteroscopy / adverse effects
  • Ureteroscopy / methods*
  • Urinary Calculi / therapy*


  • Anticoagulants