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New Test Predicts Whether or Not Kidney Stones will Recur

Update Date: Aug 08, 2014 10:55 AM EDT

Even though kidney stones are not life threatening, they can be extremely painful. In a new study, researchers set out to create a device that can predict whether or not people are at risk of getting kidney stones again. According to the team, the tool is accurate and it can help doctors and patients decide on what kinds of preventive care are required.

The researchers headed by Dr. Andrew Rule from Mayo Clinic used information gathered from 2,239 patients from Olmsted County, MN. The patients had their first symptomatic kidney stone during the time span of 1984 to 2003. By 2012, 702 of them had experienced a second kidney stone. Based from this data, the team created an 11-question assessment that can predict people's risk of having another kidney stone in two, five or 10 years.

The researchers identified certain characteristics that are tied to an increased risk of kidney stone recurrence. These characteristics are being younger, male and white and having a family history of kidney stones. Other symptomatic characteristics include blood in urine, a kidney stone made of uric acid, an obstructing stone in the kidney pelvis, additional non-obstructing stones, and a previous history of having kidney stone-related pain from a stone that was never detected.

"If we knew which patients were at high risk for another symptomatic kidney stone, then we could better advise patients on whether to follow stone prevention diets or take medications," Rule said in a journal news release reported in Philly. "At the same time, patients who are at low risk of having another kidney stone may not need restrictive diets and medications."

The study, "The ROKS Nomogram for Predicting a Second Symptomatic Stone Episode," was published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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