Purpose: We review the current literature on the diagnostic evaluation and dietary and pharmacological management of children with nephrolithiasis.
Materials and methods: We searched MEDLINE(®), Embase(®) and the Cochrane Library from their inceptions to March 2014 for published articles in English on kidney stones and therapy in children 0 to 18 years old. Based on review of the titles and abstracts, 110 of the 1,014 articles (11%) were potentially relevant to the diagnostic evaluation and medical management of nephrolithiasis in children. We summarized this literature and drew on studies performed in adult populations to augment areas in which no studies of sufficient quality have been performed in children, and to highlight areas in need of research.
Results: During the last 25 years the incidence of nephrolithiasis in children has increased by approximately 6% to 10% annually and is now 50 per 100,000 adolescents. Kidney stones that form during childhood have a similar composition to those that form in adulthood. Approximately 75% to 80% of stones are composed of predominantly calcium oxalate, 5% to 10% are predominantly calcium phosphate, 10% to 20% are struvite and 5% are pure uric acid. The recurrence rate of nephrolithiasis in patients with stones that form during childhood is poorly defined. Ultrasound should be used as the initial imaging study to evaluate children with suspected nephrolithiasis, with noncontrast computerized tomography reserved for those in whom ultrasound is nondiagnostic and the suspicion of nephrolithiasis remains high. Current treatment strategies for children with kidney stone disease are based largely on extrapolation of studies performed in adult stone formers and single institution cohort or case series studies of children. Tamsulosin likely increases the spontaneous passage of ureteral stones in children. Increased water intake and reduction of salt consumption should be recommended for all children with a history of kidney stones. Potassium citrate is a potentially effective medication for children with calcium oxalate stones and concomitant hypocitraturia, as well as children with uric acid stones. However, long-term compliance with therapy and the effect on decreasing stone recurrence in children are unknown. Based largely on efficacy in adult populations, thiazide diuretics should be considered in the treatment of children with calcium based stones and persistent hypercalciuria refractory to reductions in salt intake.
Conclusions: The incidence of kidney stone disease in children is increasing, yet few randomized clinical trials or high quality observational studies have assessed whether dietary or pharmacological interventions decrease the recurrence of kidney stones in children. Collaborative efforts and randomized clinical trials are needed to determine the efficacy and effectiveness of alternative treatments for children with nephrolithiasis, particularly those with calcium oxalate stones and concomitant hypercalciuria and hypocitraturia. Additional areas in need of study are the optimal length of time for a trial of stone passage in children, the cost-effectiveness of medical expulsive therapy vs analgesics alone, and the size and location of stones for which medical expulsive therapy is most effective.
Keywords: child; diagnostic imaging; diet therapy; drug therapy; nephrolithiasis.
Copyright © 2014 American Urological Association Education and Research, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.