More U.S. Teens Diagnosed With Kidney Stones

June 11, 2012

By Amy Norton

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Jun 08 - More teenagers are being diagnosed with kidney stones now than in years past, a study from one U.S. state suggests.

The research, which followed Minnesota children for 25 years, found that the rate of kidney stones climbed 6% each year among teenagers.

Between 1984 and 1990, the annual rate was 13 cases for every 100,000 12- to 17-year-olds. That figure nearly tripled, to 36 per 100,000, between 2003 and 2008.

Researchers say they are not sure of the reasons -- or even whether teenagers are actually suffering the stones at a higher rate. It may be that more cases are being diagnosed with highly sensitive CT scans that can detect smaller kidney stones.

"There has been much speculation about how the incidence of kidney stones might be changing over time in the pediatric population," lead researcher Dr. Moira E. Dwyer, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, said in an email.

"But until now," she added, "there has not been a sound epidemiologic study to confirm or refute suspicions."

As reported May 16th in the Journal of Urology, Dr. Dwyer's team combed through a database with medical records from all healthcare providers in Olmstead County, Minnesota.

Overall, 84 children and teenagers were diagnosed with kidney stones during the study period, with 12- to 17-year-olds accounting for most of the cases. And they were the only age group to show a rise in kidney stone rates over time.

There was no evidence, however, that obesity was to blame. On average, teens who developed kidney stones were normal-weight -- whether in the 1980s or in more recent years.

It's possible, according to Dr. Dwyer, that more kids are simply being diagnosed with the problem now. Her team found that up to the mid-1990s, only 10% of kidney stones in their study were spotted on CT scans, compared to 82%in 1997 to 2008.

CT scans catch more stones than other imaging modalities. Ultrasound, for example, picks up about 60% of the stones that CT does.


J Urol 2012.


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