Renal stone incidence on the rise among adolescents

May 15, 2011

A population-based study evaluating 25-year trends in renal stone findings among children reported a 4% per year increase in incidence, driven largely by consistently escalating renal stone rates in the 12- to 17-year age group, Mayo Clinic researchers reported yesterday.

A population-based study evaluating 25-year trends in renal stone findings among children reported a 4% per year increase in incidence, driven largely by consistently escalating renal stone rates in the 12- to 17-year age group, Mayo Clinic researchers reported yesterday.

As part of the Rochester Epidemiology Project, investigators identified all children (ages 0-17 years) in Olmstead County, MN with a renal stone diagnosis from 1984 to 2008.

Incidence of renal stones was highest in the 12- to 17- year age group. Within this cohort, renal stone diagnosis rates steadily increased throughout the study interval, resulting in a near doubling in the incidence of renal stones among adolescents from Olmstead County over the past 20 years.

Although it has been hypothesized that a rise in renal stone incidence could be tied to increases in body mass index, presenting author Moira Dwyer, MD, stated that no such correlation was found in this study. These data cannot exclude the possibility that dietary changes, such as increased salt consumption, are influencing the frequency of renal stones in adolescents.

The future trajectory of renal stone incidence in children remains to be seen.

"Until we understand what is causing the increase in the incidence of stone disease in adolescent populations, it’s difficult to know whether the incidence of stone disease will continue to increase in our pediatric population," Dr. Dwyer observed.

Children who experience renal stones are at increased risk for future events during childhood or as an adult. Recurrent stone episodes were recorded for 44% of children included in the study. This number may not be a true reflection of recurrence, Dr. Dwyer noted.

"Because stones can occur decades after the first episode, it's likely that many of these children will continue to have recurrent stone episodes with the passage of time," she said.