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      Idiopathic Calcium Nephrolithiasis

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          Calcium nephrolithiasis (CaNL) accounts for more than 70% of all renal stones, and its prevalence has increased in the last decades. Under this definition are included patients passing stones, composed of calcium oxalates and/or calcium phosphates. Current views of the pathogenesis of CaNL are based on the role of metabolic abnormalities which concur to render urines more conducive to crystallization. Therefore, the diagnostic approach is aimed at detecting these abnormalities, and the medical treatment assumes that a decrease in the risk of lithogenesis will result in remission or improvement of recurrences. The workup of the patients with CaNL begins with the analysis of passed stones and X-ray, sonography or other imaging techniques. Eligible patients, that is, both recurrent active stone formers and single-stone formers with individual risk factors, are considered for a metabolic evaluation, by which a number of blood and urine parameters are measured and others calculated. These include estimates of urine state of saturation with calcium and uric acid salts, net gastrointestinal alkali absorption, renal threshold of phosphate and other renal clearances and net acid and total nitrogen excretions. Basically, this screening is informative on renal function, metabolic abnormalities and their pathophysiology, risk of stone formation and dietary habits. During treatment it gives information about patient compliance and adverse effects of therapy. The cost of a comprehensive screening in Piedmont is 192,000 ITL (100 Euro) and rises to 300,000 ITL (154 Euro) if hormones and hydroxyproline are measured. In individual patients second- and third-level studies are performed, in order to detect systemic diseases which account for about 20% of CaNL in our series. Cost-to-benefit analysis has shown that the medical procedures for CaNL yield considerable saving in terms of difference between expenditure for drugs and testing and reduction of stone events. However, the current workup cannot be considered exhaustive, because misleading events may hamper the relation between laboratory findings and clinical outcome, and factors other than urine composition have appeared on the scenario of nephrolithiasis. These represent our challenge for the third millennium.

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          Author and article information

          S. Karger AG
          December 1998
          24 December 1998
          : 81
          : Suppl 1
          : 38-44
          Nephrology Division and Renal Stone Laboratory, Mauriziano Hospital, Turin, Italy
          46297 Nephron 1999;81(suppl 1):38–44
          © 1998 S. Karger AG, Basel

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          Tables: 5, References: 33, Pages: 7
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