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Women at Increasing Risk of Kidney Stones, Related ED Visits

Treatment costs also on the rise (August 26)

The risk of women developing kidney stones is rising, as is the number of cases being seen in U.S. emergency departments (EDs), while the rate of hospitalization for the disorder has remained stable.

Those are among the findings of a new study led by researchers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. The study set out to look at trends in visits, hospitalization, and charges during a 4-year period for patients who presented at hospital EDs for the treatment of kidney stones.

“While the number of patients visiting the emergency department had increased over that time period, it was women who had the greatest increase in visits,” says lead author Khurshid R. Ghani, MD.

The study was published online in the Journal of Urology.

Citing recent population-based studies that have shown an increase in kidney stones among women, Ghani says his team’s findings provide further evidence that the risk of stones in women appears to be increasing.

“Women are becoming more and more obese. Obesity is a major risk factor for developing a kidney stone. And one fascinating thing about women versus men is obese women are more likely to develop a stone than an obese man,” says Ghani.

Drawing data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS), the researchers looked for related ED visits from 2006 to 2009. They found a total of more than 3.6 million visits for upper urinary tract stones.

During the study period, the incidence of the disorder rose from 289 to 306 per 100,000 people. In the study group, 12% were hospitalized as a result of their visits.

The authors also found that the charges for ED visits rose from $3.8 billion dollars in 2006 to $5.0 billion in 2009.

“One of the possible reasons for the increase in charges is the use of a CT scan to diagnose a kidney stone,” Ghani says.

“Fifteen years ago, around 5% to 10% of patients visiting the emergency department for a kidney stone would get a CT scan. Today, 70% of patients who visit the emergency department get a scan. While they’re wonderful tools of technology that allow an accurate diagnosis, they are expensive,” Ghani explains.

Source: Henry Ford Hospital; August 26, 2013.

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