Comparative effectiveness and safety of various treatment procedures for lower pole renal calculi: A systematic review and network meta-analysis

Shaun Wen Huey Lee, Nathorn Chaiyakunapruk, Huey Yi Chong, Men Long Liong

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Objective To compare the effectiveness of various treatments used for lower pole renal calculi. Methods We searched PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, the Cochrane Collaboration's Database of Systematic Reviews, the Cochrane Collaboration Central Register of Controlled Clinical Trials as well as for reports up to 1 April 2014. The search was supplemented with abstract reports from various urology conferences. All randomised, 'blinded' clinical studies including patients treated for lower pole renal calculi of <20 mm were included for review. Two authors independently reviewed 5 194 articles, and identified and selected 13 trials for analysis. Network meta-analysis was performed to generate comparative statistics, while quality was assessed with the Jadad composite scale and risk of bias. Results All treatment methods examined: percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PNL), ureterorenoscopy (URS) and extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (SWL) with an adjuvant therapy (such as inversion, hydration and forced diuresis) were more effective than SWL therapy alone, with risk ratios (95% confidence intervals) of being stone free of: PNL 2.19 (1.62-2.96); URS 1.23 (1.03-1.48); and SWL with an adjuvant therapy 1.30 (1.03-1.63). However, patients treated with the other treatment methods also had a higher risk of adverse events (AEs) compared with SWL, but there was no evidence of a convincing difference between the various techniques and AEs. Conclusion In stones of <10 mm, SWL with an adjuvant therapy appears to have better stone clearance, lower risk of AEs, and need for further treatment. PNL was most effective treating larger stones, after considering both effectiveness and safety of treatment. These should be considered by both physicians and patients alike when considering the choice of treatment and in the revision of clinical practice guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-264
Number of pages13
JournalBJU International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015


  • lithotripsy
  • lower pole kidney calculi
  • lower pole renal calculi
  • percutaneous nephrolithotomy
  • ureterorenoscopy

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