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Intern Emerg Med. 2008 Sep;3(3):241-4. doi: 10.1007/s11739-008-0145-z. Epub 2008 Apr 24.

Renal colic in Pisa emergency department: epidemiology, diagnostics and treatment patterns.

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U.O. Nefrologia e Dialisi, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana, Via Roma 67, 56100, Pisa, Italy.


The present investigation aimed to point out some epidemiological and clinical features of renal colic in our region. All emergency department (ED) visits performed from 1 January to 31 December 2005 were reviewed to select those with diagnosis of renal colic or kidney stones. There were 70,621 visits to the University of Pisa ED. Renal colic or stone were diagnosed in 696 cases (1%); 21.6% of them were recurrent stone formers; the males to female ratio was 1.4-1. The age distribution showed a higher rate from 25 to 44 years of age, whereas seasonal distribution showed a higher risk during summer months, particularly in July. Ultrasonography (US) was the only examination in 70.2% cases, it was coupled with plain abdomen X-ray (KUB) in 10% of the cases. NSAIDs were always used (100%), sometimes in association with opiate (15.8%) or with anti-cholinergic (26.5%) medications. The data of our investigation are in a substantial agreement with the reported literature as far as concerns the main epidemiological features of renal colic and its treatment. On the contrary, the diagnostic approach is mainly based on US whereas KUB is rarely performed. Until the 31st of December 2005, CT-scan was not used as the first and only imaging study in cases of renal colic. This different diagnostic approach may be linked to financial and cultural reasons, and structural and functional organization of the National Health Service facilities.

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