Dietary recommendations and treatment of patients with recurrent idiopathic calcium stone disease

This review describes the various dietary regimens that have been used to advise patients on how to prevent the recurrence of their calcium-containing kidney stones. The conclusion is that although there is some general advice that may be useful to many patients, it is more efficacious to screen each patient individually to identify his/her main urinary, metabolic, nutritional, environmental, and lifestyle risk factors for stone-formation and then tailor specific advice for that particular patient based on the findings from these investigations.

If the patient can be motivated to adhere strictly to this conservative approach to the prophylactic management of their stone problem over a long time period, then it is possible to prevent them from forming further stones. This approach to stone management is considerably less expensive than any of the procedures currently available for stone removal or disintegration. In the UK, for each new stone episode prevented by this conservative approach to prophylaxis it is calculated to save the Health Authority concerned around £2000 for every patient treated successfully. In the long term, this accumulates to a major saving within each hospital budget if most stone patients can be prevented from forming further stones and when the savings are totalled up country-wide saves the National Exchequer considerable sums in unclaimed Sick Pay and industry a significant number of manpower days which would otherwise be lost from work. It is also of immense relief and benefit to the patients not to have to suffer the discomfort and inconvenience of further stone episodes.

Urolithiasis. 2015 Dec 08 [Epub ahead of print]

W G Robertson

Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, OX3 9DU, UK.