Purpose: The Equil 2 computer program has been questioned by the new Joint Expert Speciation System program (Mayhem Unit Trust and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa) for estimating the urinary saturation of stone forming salts to gauge the propensity for stone formation. To attempt resolution the supersaturation index according to the Joint Expert Speciation System and the relative saturation ratio according to Equil 2 were compared with the semi-empirically derived concentration-to-product ratio. Materials and Methods: Data were obtained from a recent article in The Journal of Urology®, in which pH, calcium and citrate were varied over a wide range in 72 urine samples. We calculated the relative saturation ratio and the supersaturation index of brushite, and compared them with the available concentration-to-product ratio derived from the growth or dissolution of synthetic brushite. Results: The mean concentration-to-product ratio did not differ from the supersaturation index but the concentration-to-product ratio and the supersaturation index were significantly lower than the relative saturation ratio (p <0.004). On the saturation value and urinary variable plot the relative saturation ratio could be readily distinguished from the concentration-to-product ratio because it was consistently and significantly higher. While the supersaturation index pattern was similar to the concentration-to-product ratio, the supersaturation index was slightly lower at high urinary pH and calcium, and slightly higher at lower urinary pH and calcium (p <0.001). When the Ca2H2(PO4)2 complex was deleted from the Joint Expert Speciation System, the corrected supersaturation index was not significantly different from the relative saturation ratio determined by Equil 2. Conclusions: The relative saturation ratio overestimates brushite saturation by about 80%. The supersaturation index yields a good approximation of brushite saturation at modest degrees of saturation but it overestimates saturation at low pH or calcium (low saturation) and underestimates it at high pH or calcium (high saturation).
- urinary calculi
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