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J Urol. 1991 Aug;146(2 ( Pt 2)):544-7.

The effects of extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy on renal growth, function and arterial blood pressure in an animal model.

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  • 1Department of Urology, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles.


The long-term effects of extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL*) on children treated for renal calculi are unclear. To study the long-term bio-effects of this mode of treatment on the immature animal we evaluated 30 New Zealand white rabbits at 7 weeks of age for weight, serum blood urea nitrogen and creatinine, and arterial blood pressure after which they underwent left nephrectomy. Each group of 5 rabbits received ESWL of varying levels (500 to 3,000 shock waves) to the remaining right kidney using the Northgate SD3 lithotriptor (spark gap mediated). One control group received no shock waves. At maturity (16 weeks) the aforementioned parameters were measured again, and the kidneys and any grossly abnormal adjacent organs were examined. We found no significant change in total animal growth, renal growth, renal function or perirenal organs in the post-ESWL groups versus the control group. All post-ESWL groups had an increase in mean arterial blood pressure versus the control group with 3 of 6 groups showing significant increases (p less than 0.05). Histological renal changes, seen at all energy levels of ESWL delivered, included interstitial fibrosis, tubular atrophy, glomeruli destruction, capsular thickening, perivascular fibrosis and mild arteriole wall thickening. Changes were proportional to the number of shocks received. We conclude that ESWL delivered to immature animals does not significantly affect renal growth and function but it can cause significant permanent histological renal changes even at low doses and may result in an increase in adult mean arterial blood pressure.

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