Kidney Stones (cont.)

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What is the prognosis for kidney stones?

Most kidney stones (more than 80%) pass on their own. However, the recurrence rate is high and half the patients can expect to pass another stone within 10 years. For that reason, it is best to find out the type of stone to minimize the risk of future recurrences. Capturing the stone is the first step to find out the type. The stone can then be analyzed in the laboratory. Based upon the type of stone, further metabolic testing may be helpful.

In otherwise healthy patients, the major complication of a kidney stone is the potential for infection or the inability to control pain or nausea.

Can kidney stones be prevented?

By doing nothing more than keeping well hydrated and drinking adequate amounts of water, most kidney stones can be prevented. For those patients who develop kidney stones because of underlying medical conditions, the addition of diet modification or chronic medication may be helpful. It is also essential to hydrate to increase the amount of urine produced to prevent any beginning of a stone.


Tintinalli, J. E., et al. Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th ed. McGraw-Hill Professional, 2010.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/26/2013

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