Medical and dietary interventions for preventing recurrent urinary stones in children

Adam Kern, Gwen Grimsby, Helen Mayo, Linda A. Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Nephrolithiasis, or urinary stone disease, in children causes significant morbidity, and is increasing in prevalence in the North American population. Therefore, medical and dietary interventions (MDI) for recurrent urinary stones in children are poised to gain increasing importance in the clinical armamentarium. Objectives: To assess the effects of medical and dietary interventions (MDI) for the prevention of idiopathic urinary stones in children aged from one to 18 years. Search methods: We searched multiple databases using search terms relevant to this review, including studies identified from the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL, 2017, Issue 1), MEDLINE OvidSP (1946 to 14 February 2017), Embase OvidSP (1980 to 14 February 2017), International Clinical Trials Register (ICTRP) Search Portal and Additionally, we handsearched renal-related journals and the proceedings of major renal conferences, and reviewed weekly current awareness alerts for selected renal journals. The date of the last search was 14 February 2017. There were no language restrictions. Selection criteria: Randomized controlled trials of at least one year of MDI versus control for prevention of recurrent idiopathic (non-syndromic) nephrolithiasis in children. Data collection and analysis: We used standard methodologic procedures expected by Cochrane. Titles and abstracts were identified by search criteria and then screened for relevance, and then data extraction and risk of bias assessment were carried out. We assessed the quality of evidence using GRADE. Main results: The search identified one study of 125 children (72 boys and 53 girls) with calcium-containing idiopathic nephrolithiasis and normal renal morphology following initial treatment with shockwave lithotripsy (SWL). Patients were randomized to oral potassium citrate 1 mEq/kg per day for 12 months versus no specific medication or preventive measure with results reported for a total of 96 patients (48 per group). This included children who were stone-free (n = 52) or had residual stone fragments (n = 44) following SWL. Primary outcomes: Medical therapy may lower rates of stone recurrence with a risk ratio (RR) of 0.19 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.06 to 0.60; low quality evidence). This corresponds to 270 fewer stone recurrences per 1000 (133 fewer to 313 fewer) children. We downgraded the quality of evidence by two levels for very serious study limitations related to unclear allocation concealment (selection bias) and a high risk of performance, detection and attrition bias. While the data for adverse events were incomplete, they reported that six of 48 (12.5%) children receiving potassium citrate left the trial because of adverse effects. This corresponds to a RR of 13.0 (95% CI 0.75 to 224.53; very low quality evidence); an absolute effect size estimate could not be generated. We downgraded the quality of evidence for study limitations and imprecision. We found no information on retreatment rates. Secondary outcomes: We found no evidence on serum electrolytes, 24-hour urine collection parameters or time to new stone formation. We were unable to perform any preplanned secondary analyses. Authors' conclusions: Oral potassium citrate supplementation may reduce recurrent calcium urinary stone formation in children following SWL; however, our confidence in this finding is limited. A substantial number of children stopped the medication due to adverse events. There is no trial evidence on retreatment rates. There is a critical need for additional well-designed trials in children with nephrolithiasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberCD011252
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 9 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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