Kidney Stone Patients May Be More Likely to Break Bones

Urolithiasis patients had raised risk for bone fractures in later years

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Kidney stones are painful enough on their own. But they might put patients at risk for even more pain in the future, a new study found.

Recently, a group of researchers looked at whether patients who had kidney stones had a greater risk for bone fractures later in life.

They found that patients who had been diagnosed with urolithiasis — also referred to as kidney stones — in the urinary tract or kidneys had a greater risk for fractured bones as they aged.

Michelle Denburg, MD, of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues authored the study. They reviewed medical records on 51,785 patients from the United Kingdom who were diagnosed with urolithiasis and 517,267 patients who did not have the condition. The patients were between 10 and 89 years old, and 67 percent were male.

The authors found that people who developed urinary or kidney stones had a higher risk for broken bones.

Men with kidney stones had a 10 percent greater chance of having bone fractures within 10 years of diagnosis than those who had not been diagnosed, the authors found. Adolescent boys between the ages of 10 and 19 had a 55 percent greater risk of broken bones than males of other ages. The most common fracture men reported was to the hand — this type of fracture accounted for 21 percent of the cases.

Women with kidney stones had a 17 to 52 percent greater chance of having a bone fracture from their 30s through their 70s than those who had not been diagnosed — with the greatest risk between the ages of 30 and 39. The most common fracture women reported was to the forearm and wrist area — this type of fracture accounted for 17 percent of the cases.

The average time between the diagnosis of kidney stones and a bone fracture was about 10 years.

The study authors noted that kidney or urinary tract stones affected 3 to 5 percent of adults. Men have an 11 percent lifetime risk of kidney stones, women have a 5.6 percent chance.

“The significantly higher risk at certain ages in males and females has profound public health implications," Dr. Denburg said in a press release. "Given that the median time from diagnosis of urolithiasis to fracture was a decade, we might be able to intervene during this interval to reduce the burden of future fracture."

The researchers noted that this study had a few limitations. Because the authors only had access to data on patient age, gender and kidney stone diagnosis, patient races were excluded.

Also, the study authors were unable to obtain a significant sample of patient records for children younger than 10 and therefore had to exclude this age group from the study.

This study was published Oct. 23 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

A grant from the National Institutes of Health funded the study. The study authors received payments from Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novartis, AstraZeneca and Alexion Pharmaceuticals, among others.


Review Date: 
October 22, 2014
Last Updated:
October 24, 2014