Heart Disease Is Where the Stone Is

Kidney stones in women linked to higher risk of heart disease

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Kidney stones are troublesome enough. But could they be associated with more serious conditions?

According to a recent study, women who had kidney stones had a higher risk for coronary heart disease. No such link between the two conditions was found in men.

It must be noted that an association between kidney stones and heart disease does not mean that kidney stones cause heart disease.

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This study was conducted by Pietro Manuel Ferraro, MD, of Columbus-Gemelli Hospital in Rome, and colleagues.

The aim of this study was to examine the link between kidney stones and the risk of coronary heart disease.

In coronary heart disease, the heart muscle does not get proper blood supply because of plaque build up in the heart's blood vessels.

Kidney stones are small, hard pebble-like mineral deposits that can form in your kidneys. Sometimes these stones can cause severe abdominal pain and blood in the urine.

It has been suggested by other researchers that having kidney stones may increase the risk of developing coronary heart disease. But according to Dr. Ferraro and colleagues, the results of previous studies have not been consistent.

For this study, the researchers collected their data from past studies. They looked at 45,748 men and 196,357 women in the US who had no history of coronary heart disease.

Patients were checked for a history of kidney stones and coronary heart disease every two years and their diagnoses were recorded. Coronary heart disease was defined as heart attack or history of surgery done to restore blood supply to the heart.

Of the participants, 19,678 were diagnosed with kidney stones. During the 24 years of follow-up, there were 16,838 new cases of coronary heart disease.

The researchers found that women with a history of kidney stones were more likely to have coronary heart disease than women without a history of kidney stones.

Women with kidney stones were roughly 18 to 48 percent more likely to have coronary heart disease than women who do not have kidney stones.

Kidney stones did not affect the risk of coronary heart disease among men.

The reason for this difference between the two genders in terms of risk was not explained by this study.

The authors noted a few limitations of their study. Firstly, the study population was entirely white so the results may not apply to the general population.

Secondly, the chemical type of the kidney stone, which might have provided some clues to explain the link between the two conditions, was not known.

"Further research is needed to determine whether the association is sex-specific and to establish the pathophysiological basis of this association," the researchers wrote.

This study was published July 23 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health. A few of the authors reported consulting relationships with companies, including Boston Scientific and Allena Pharmaceuticals among other companies. No other conflicts of interest were reported.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 24, 2013
Last Updated:
July 29, 2013