As the incidence of pediatric nephrolithiasis rises, understanding the efficacy and morbidity of surgical treatment options is critical. Currently, there are limited comparative data assessing shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) and ureteroscopy (URS) outcomes in children.

The objective of this study was to compare stone clearance, 30-day emergency department visits, and the number of general anesthetics required per stone treatment for both modalities.

A multi-institutional retrospective review of children presenting for either URS or SWL between 2000 and 2017 was performed. Stone clearance, need for retreatment, the number of anesthetics, as well as the number and reason for emergency room visit were captured and compared between groups. Multivariate statistical analysis accounting for age, stone location, stone diameter, pre-intervention stent, and provider volume was performed for adjusted analysis.

A total of 84 SWL and 175 URS procedures were included. Complete stone clearance and rates of residual stone fragments <4 mm after final procedure for SWL were 77.0% and 90.8% and for URS were 78.5% and 91.7%, respectively. Retreatment rates for both procedures were not significantly different (17.9% SWL vs. 18.9% URS, P = 0.85). Children who underwent SWL had lower rates of emergency room visits for infections (0% vs. 5.1%, P = 0.03) and flank pain (3.6% vs. 10.9%, P = 0.05) and required fewer general anesthetics per treatment (1.2 vs. 2.0, P < 0.01) than those who underwent URS (Figure).

Stone clearance after both the initial and final treatments and need for repeat interventions were similar between surgical modalities. However, SWL carries less morbidity than URS. Specifically, patients who underwent SWL experienced lower rates of ED visits for urinary tract infection and for flank pain, parallel to conclusions in current comparative literature. In addition, SWL requires less general anesthetics (2.0 vs. 1.2), secondary to lower rates of ureteral stent placement and removal. Data on the potential risk of general anesthetics to neurodevelopment support thoughtful utilization of these medications. Limitations of this study include its retrospective nature and the prolonged 20-year time period over which data were collected.

When adjusting for confounders, SWL and URS achieve similar stone clearance. In the setting of equivalent efficacy, considerations regarding necessity of repeat interventions, morbidity of anesthesia, and complications should be integrated into clinical practice.

Journal of pediatric urology. 2019 Jun 21 [Epub ahead of print]

K A Marchetti, T Lee, N Raja, L Corona, K H Kraft, J Wan, J S Ellison

Department of Urology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. Electronic address: ., Department of Urology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA., University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA., Division of Pediatric Urology, Department of Urology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA., Division of Pediatric Urology, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin & Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA.