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Pediatr Nephrol. 2010 Jan;25(1):49-59. doi: 10.1007/s00467-008-0960-5.

History, epidemiology and regional diversities of urolithiasis.

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Department of Nephrology, Hospital de Niños JM de los Ríos, Caracas, Venezuela.


Archeological findings give profound evidence that humans have suffered from kidney and bladder stones for centuries. Bladder stones were more prevalent during older ages, but kidney stones became more prevalent during the past 100 years, at least in the more developed countries. Also, treatment options and conservative measures, as well as 'surgical' interventions have also been known for a long time. Our current preventive measures are definitively comparable to those of our predecessors. Stone removal, first lithotomy for bladder stones, followed by transurethral methods, was definitively painful and had severe side effects. Then, as now, the incidence of urolithiasis in a given population was dependent on the geographic area, racial distribution, socio-economic status and dietary habits. Changes in the latter factors during the past decades have affected the incidence and also the site and chemical composition of calculi, with calcium oxalate stones being now the most prevalent. Major differences in frequency of other constituents, particularly uric acid and struvite, reflect eating habits and infection risk factors specific to certain populations. Extensive epidemiological observations have emphasized the importance of nutritional factors in the pathogenesis of urolithiasis, and specific dietary advice is, nowadays, often the most appropriate for prevention and treatment of urolithiasis.

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