Kidney Stone Emergency Department Visits Increase

1001353_438670999574208_284021162_nMore women seeking help for their kidney stones in the emergency room.

Although U.S. hospital admission rates for kidney stones have stabilized, more people, especially women, are seeking relief for their severe pain by visiting emergency departments. This is according to study findings presented at the 28th annual congress of the European Association of Urology.

Alpha blockers may be the reason why surgical intervention rates have not risen, says study investigator Dr. Khurshid Ghani of Henry Ford Hospital’s Vattikuti Urology Institute in Detroit. Alpha blockers are medications that relax muscles in the urinary tract and allow for stone passage, in some instances. Their use is fairly recent.

Ghani and colleagues analyzed 2006-2009 data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample.  This is the largest, payer emergency department database in the nation. Ghani and colleagues found that emergency room visits by women for kidney stones increased annually by 2.85 % compared to a 1.19 annual increase by men. The study also showed that the highest incidence of emergency room visits for kidney was in July and August.

Kidney stones are one the ten most common conditions treated in U.S. emergency departments. They are also among the most expensive.

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