Association of Urine Findings with Metabolic Syndrome Traits in a Population of Patients with Nephrolithiasis

Kidney360. 2021 Nov 30;3(2):317-324. doi: 10.34067/KID.0002292021. eCollection 2022 Feb 24.


Background: The odds of nephrolithiasis increase with more metabolic syndrome (MetS) traits. We evaluated associations of metabolic and dietary factors from urine studies and stone composition with MetS traits in a large cohort of stone-forming patients.

Methods: Patients >18 years old who were evaluated for stones with 24-hour urine collections between July 2009 and December 2018 had their records reviewed retrospectively. Patient factors, laboratory values, and diagnoses were identified within 6 months of urine collection and stone composition within 1 year. Four groups with none, one, two, and three or four MetS traits (hypertension, obesity, dyslipidemia, and diabetes) were evaluated. Trends across groups were tested using linear contrasts in analysis of variance and analysis of covariance.

Results: A total of 1473 patients met the inclusion criteria (835 with stone composition). MetS groups were 684 with no traits, 425 with one trait, 211 with two traits, and 153 with three or four traits. There were no differences among groups for urine volume, calcium, or ammonium excretion. There was a significant trend (P<0.001) for more MetS traits being associated with decreasing urine pH, increasing age, calculated dietary protein, urine uric acid (UA), oxalate, citrate, titratable acid phosphate, net acid excretion, and UA supersaturation. The ratio of ammonium to net acid excretion did not differ among the groups. After adjustment for protein intake, the fall in urine pH remained strong, while the upward trend in acid excretion was lost. Calcium oxalate stones were most common, but there was a trend for more UA (P<0.001) and fewer calcium phosphate (P=0.09) and calcium oxalate stones (P=0.01) with more MetS traits.

Conclusions: Stone-forming patients with MetS have a defined pattern of metabolic and dietary risk factors that contribute to an increased risk of stone formation, including higher acid excretion, largely the result of greater protein intake, and lower urine pH.

Keywords: kidney calculi; metabolic syndrome; nephrolithiasis; phenotype.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Citrates / urine
  • Humans
  • Kidney Calculi* / epidemiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome* / epidemiology
  • Oxalates / urine
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Citrates
  • Oxalates