Increased water intake as a prevention strategy for recurrent urolithiasis: major impact of compliance on cost-effectiveness

J Urol. 2013 Mar;189(3):935-9. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2012.08.254. Epub 2012 Sep 24.


Purpose: We evaluated the economic impact of preventing recurrent stones using a strategy of increased water intake and determined the impact of compliance on cost-effectiveness for the French health care system.

Materials and methods: A Markov model was constructed to compare costs and outcomes for recurrent kidney stone formers with less than 2 L vs 2 L or more daily fluid intake. Model assumptions included an annual prevalence of 120,000 stone episodes in France, 14.4% annual risk of stone recurrence and a 55% risk reduction in subjects with adequate water intake. Costs were based on resource use as estimated by a panel of experts and official national price lists. Outcomes were from the perspective of the public health payer, and encompassed direct and indirect costs.

Results: The total cost of an episode of urolithiasis was estimated at €4,267 including the cost of treatment and complications. This corresponds to an annual budget impact of €88 million for recurrent stones based on 21,000 stone events. Assuming 100% compliance with fluid intake recommendations of 2 L daily, 11,572 new stones might be prevented, resulting in a cost savings of €49 million. Compliance with water intake in only 25% of patients would still result in 2,893 fewer stones and a cost savings of €10 million. Varying the costs of managing stones had a smaller impact on outcomes since in many patients stones do not form. Varying the incidence of complications did not change the incidence of stones and had a negligible effect on overall cost.

Conclusions: Preventing recurrent urolithiasis has a significant cost savings potential for a payer as a result of a reduced stone burden. However, compliance is an important factor in determining cost-effectiveness.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Cost Savings
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Delivery of Health Care / economics*
  • Drinking / physiology*
  • France
  • Health Care Costs / trends*
  • Humans
  • Models, Economic*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Urolithiasis / economics
  • Urolithiasis / prevention & control*