Introduction: Kidney stone patients have lower health-related quality of life (HRQOL) than nonstone formers. Among active stone patients (those with stones), those with symptoms have lower HRQOL than those without. However, little is known about whether asymptomatic stones affect patients' HRQOL.
Methods: A sample of asymptomatic stone formers was assembled by identifying patients who reported no symptoms on the disease-specific Wisconsin Stone Quality of Life (WiSQoL) questionnaire (n=351). Of these, 107 were identified (M:F 61:46; 53±17 years; BMI 29.5±7.6). Patients were mostly recurrent (78%), and 42% thought they had stones at the time of the WiSQoL questionnaire. Patients' WisQoL responses were compared by self-reported stone status (yes/no), actual stone status (yes/no, corroborated from imaging and medical records), age, gender, and duration of stones.
Results: Of patients reporting stones at the time of the questionnaire (42% of sample), 37 (82%) were correct about it. Of patients who reported not having stones (49% of sample), 29 (55%) were correct. WiSQoL results were lower (worse HRQOL) among patients with stones versus those without, regardless of whether they knew their actual stone status.
Conclusions: Asymptomatic patients with current stones, whether they are aware of them or not, may have lower HRQOL. These results suggest that (a) some patients may not be fully aware of their stone-related symptoms or are better able to handle them than others, and (b) due to the potential impact on HRQOL, some patients may benefit from definitive knowledge of their stone status as this may inform decision-making for subsequent stone management.