Aftermath of Grade 3 Ureteral Injury from Passage of a Ureteral Access Sheath: Disaster or Deliverance?

Background: The ureteral access sheath (UAS) has revolutionized the management of urinary pathology in the upper tract by providing rapid repeatable access to the upper urinary tract. However, in many practices, it remains a controversial tool in endourology given concerns of possible ureteral injury and presumed long-term sequela from those injuries. This case suggests that these concerns may be more hypothetical than real. Case Presentation: A 32-year-old female with a history of recurrent nephrolithiasis presented with left-sided symptomatic renal colic. She was found to have bilateral nephrolithiasis plus a left 6 × 5 mm proximal ureteral stone with associated moderate hydroureteronephrosis. The patient failed a trial of passage and as such was taken to the operating room for an elective ureteroscopy (URS) during which she sustained a Grade 3 ureteral splitting injury, measuring ∼2-3 cm, to the distal ureter from passage of the 16F UAS. At the end of the procedure a 7/10F endopyelotomy stent was placed. On follow-up URS at 6 weeks, there was no visual evidence of ureteral injury. A Lasix renal scan obtained 8 weeks after stent removal showed no evidence of obstruction. Conclusion: High-grade ureteral injuries sustained from UAS passage are rare. However, when injuries of this nature occur, the concern over long-term damage to the ureter may well be overstated.

Journal of endourology case reports. 2016 Jan 01*** epublish ***

Roshan M Patel, Zhamshid Okhunov, Kamaljot Kaler, Ralph V Clayman

Department of Urology, University of California , Irvine, Orange, California.