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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Minerva Medica 2013 February;104(1):31-40

language: English

Treating stones in transplanted kidneys

Saxena S., Sadideen H., Goldsmith D.

Department of Nephrology and Transplantation, Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK


The formation of calculi in renal allografts is an uncommon complication in renal transplant recipients, with a reported incidence of 0.2-1.7% according to retrospective studies. Although the majority of these stones appear to form de novo following renal transplantation (RTX), there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that more often than previously thought they may be transplanted with the donor graft itself. The etiology and pathophysiology of renal graft stones is multifactorial. A combination of metabolic and urodynamic factors predispose to stone formation and these are generally found more frequently in allograft rather than native kidneys. In addition tertiary hyperparathyroidism (following RTX) plays an important role. Renal allograft stones can pose significant challenges for the clinician. The diagnosis requires a high index of suspicion and must be prompt, as these patients’ reliance on a solitary kidney for their renal function leaves them susceptible to significant morbidity. However, reports in the literature come largely from anecdotal experience and case reports, meaning that there is a limited consensus regarding how best to manage the condition. We suggest that interventional treatment should be guided primarily by stone size and individual patient presentation. Good outcomes have been reported with shockwave lithotripsy (SWL), percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) and ureteroscopy, but optimal management of the risk factors leading to calculi formation (i.e., prevention) will remain the most cost-effective management.

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