What is the prevalence of nephrolithiasis in the US?

Updated: Sep 16, 2021
  • Author: Chirag N Dave, MD; Chief Editor: Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS  more...
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The lifetime prevalence of nephrolithiasis is approximately 12% for men and 7% for women in the United States, and it is rising. Having a family member with a history of stones doubles these rates. Approximately 30 million people are at risk in the United States. Roughly 2 million patients present on an outpatient basis with stone disease each year in the United States, which is a 40% increase from 1994. [16]

The likelihood that a Caucasian US male will develop stone disease by age 70 years is 1 in 8. Stones of the upper urinary tract are more common in the United States than in the rest of the world. Recurrence rates after the first stone episode are 14%, 35%, and 52% at 1, 5, and 10 years, respectively.

The increasing incidence of kidney stone disease in the United States seems to be related to the socioeconomic status of the patient population. The lower the economic status, the lower the likelihood of renal stones. Other parts of the world with lower standards of living tend to have lower incidences of kidney stones but have higher rates of bladder calculi.

African Americans have a lower incidence of stones than Caucasians, and people living in the South and Southwest have higher incidences of stones than people living in other parts of the United States. The increased incidence noted in the southeastern United States has prompted the use of the term “stone belt” for this region of the country. [17]

According to a population-based, repeated cross-sectional study, the estimated mean annual incidence of nephrolithiasis in South Carolina increased 1% annually from 1997 to 2012, reaching 239 per 100,000 population. Adjusting for age and race, the incidence increased 15% in females but remained stable for males. The incidence in African Americans increased 15% more compared with Caucasians. [18]

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