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Urolithiasis in the elderly
Department of Urology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Jun  2011 (Vol.  18, Issue  3, Pages( 5717 - 5720)
PMID: 21703047


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    Urolithiasis is an increasing problem in patients ? 80 years. Our objective was to compare patients ? 80 years with urolithiasis to a younger cohort in terms of presentation and management. METHODS: Patients referred to a tertiary care stone clinic for management of urolithiasis over a 5 year period were reviewed. Data collected on clinical parameters for patients ? 80 years were compared with a random sample of those < 80 years.


    There were 26 patients ? 80 years and 102 in the sample < 80 years; mean age was 83.5 ± 0.6 and 50.1 ± 1.3 years, respectively. The older group had more comorbidities. The presenting complaint was more often flank pain in younger patients. Patients ? 80 years had larger stones. Early ureteric stent insertion was more likely in the elderly compared with the younger group (27% versus 7%, p < 0.01). Definitive therapy for patients ? 80 years was most often percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) (23%) compared with only 9% in the younger group. In contrast, the most common definitive treatment modality used for patients < 80 years was extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) (35% versus 8%, p < 0.01). There was no difference in intraoperative complications. Thirty nine percent of the older group was managed as outpatients. More of the older group had postoperative complications but all were minor.


    Urolithiasis in the elderly is challenging to treat because they have more comorbidities and are less likely to present with classic symptoms of renal colic. This may lead to later presentation with larger and more complex stone disease. Early ureteric stent is often required and definitive PCNL is more likely than in the younger cohort. Despite these issues most can be treated safely and often as an outpatient.