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J Endourol. 2012 Aug;26(8):1070-4. doi: 10.1089/end.2012.0042. Epub 2012 Jun 13.

Quantitative assessment of shockwave lithotripsy accuracy and the effect of respiratory motion.

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  • 1Department of Urology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.



Effective stone comminution during shockwave lithotripsy (SWL) is dependent on precise three-dimensional targeting of the shockwave. Respiratory motion, imprecise targeting or shockwave alignment, and stone movement may compromise treatment efficacy. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of shockwave targeting during SWL treatment and the effect of motion from respiration.


Ten patients underwent SWL for the treatment of 13 renal stones. Stones were targeted fluoroscopically using a Healthtronics Lithotron (five cases) or Dornier Compact Delta II (five cases) shockwave lithotripter. Shocks were delivered at a rate of 1 to 2 Hz with ramping shockwave energy settings of 14 to 26 kV or level 1 to 5. After the low energy pretreatment and protective pause, a commercial diagnostic ultrasound (US) imaging system was used to record images of the stone during active SWL treatment. Shockwave accuracy, defined as the proportion of shockwaves that resulted in stone motion with shockwave delivery, and respiratory stone motion were determined by two independent observers who reviewed the ultrasonographic videos.


Mean age was 51 ± 15 years with 60% men, and mean stone size was 10.5 ± 3.7 mm (range 5-18 mm). A mean of 2675 ± 303 shocks was delivered. Shockwave-induced stone motion was observed with every stone. Accurate targeting of the stone occurred in 60% ± 15% of shockwaves.


US imaging during SWL revealed that 40% of shockwaves miss the stone and contribute solely to tissue injury, primarily from movement with respiration. These data support the need for a device to deliver shockwaves only when the stone is in target. US imaging provides real-time assessment of stone targeting and accuracy of shockwave delivery.

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