Stories about: kidney stones

Tackling kidney stones: Q&A with Boston Children’s Kidney Stone Program co-directors

kidney-stones-in-childrenIn recent years, there has been a steep and steady increase in the incidence of kidney stones in the pediatric population. Based on this increase, Boston Children’s Hospital established a pediatric Kidney Stone Program in 2007 to help manage the influx.

Caleb Nelson, MD, MPHBartley Cilento, MD, MPH, and Michelle Baum, MD, program co-directors, discuss why kidney stones are becoming more common in children. 

How has your patient volume grown?

Dr. Nelson: A few years ago, we’d see a new patient about once a month. Now our team sees new cases every week. We have four Kidney Stone Clinics each month: two in Boston, one in Waltham and one in Weymouth. We also have a new location at our North Dartmouth satellite where we hold clinic regularly.

What do you think is causing this increase?

Dr. Nelson: There may be a number of reasons. Children are getting less physical activity, which is contributing to an increased incidence of obesity. Obese people are more likely to get stones, although both obese and non-obese children and adults can get them. We don’t know if obesity itself causes stones, or if obesity is just a marker for other factors that cause stones. Diet is a factor, as many children eat too much salt and highly processed foods and don’t drink enough water. Stones form when there’s too much of the stone-forming material and not enough water in the urine, so dehydration is a major contributor. …Read More

Time for a personalized approach to managing kidney stones?

kidney stones Friedhelm Hildebrandt nephrology

One in 10 people in their lifetime will have a kidney stone — a small, hard deposit of mineral and acid salts that can obstruct the drainage of urine, cause intense pain and, if not treated properly, lead to long-term kidney issues. Kidney stones are relatively uncommon in children, but the number of cases over the past two decades has risen.

The treatment for kidney stones has remained the same for decades — increased fluid intake, limited sodium intake, diuretics and potassium citrate therapy. Lifestyle factors are typically blamed for kidney stones, yet twin studies suggest a genetic component.

Our sister blog Vector spoke to Friedhelm Hildebrandt, MD, chief of the Division of Nephrology at Boston Children’s Hospital, about new research that supports pursuing a genetic diagnosis for kidney stones, especially in kids.

“The minute we find a mutation that causes disease, we have the cause of disease in hand,” Hildebrandt tells Vector. “And finding the cause has consequences for therapy.”

Learn more about research on personalized medicine for kidney stones on Vector.

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