Currently an evidence-based approach to nephrolithiasis is hampered by a lack of randomized controlled trials. Thus, there is a need for common platforms for data sharing and recruitment of patients to interventional studies. A first step in achieving this objective would be to share practice methods and protocols for subsequent standardization in what is still a heterogeneous clinical field. Here, we present the results of a pilot survey performed across 24 European clinical kidney stone centers. The survey was distributed by a voluntary online questionnaire circulated between June 2017 and January 2018. About 46% of centers reported seeing on average 20 or more patients per month. Only 21% adopted any formal referral criteria. Centers were relatively heterogeneous in respect of the definition of an incident stone event. The majority (71%) adopted a formal follow-up scheme; of these, 65% included a follow-up visit at 3 and 12 months, and 41% more than 12 months. In 79% of centers some kind of imaging was performed systematically. 75% of all centers performed laboratory analyses on blood samples at baseline and during follow-up. All centers performed laboratory analyses on 24-h urine samples, the majority (96%) at baseline and during follow-up. There was good correspondence across centers for analyses performed on 24-h urine samples, although the methods of 24-h urine collection and analysis were relatively heterogeneous. Our survey among 24 European stone centers highlights areas of homogeneity and heterogeneity that will be investigated further. Our aim is the creation of a European network of stone centers sharing practice patterns and hosting a common database for research and guidance in clinical care.
Keywords: Clinical practice; Metabolic evaluation; Network; Survey; Urolithiasis.