Mayo Clinic researchers are sounding an alert about side effects of shock wave lithotripsy: in a research study, they found this common treatment for kidney stones to significantly increase the risk for diabetes and hypertension later in life. Risk for diabetes was related to the intensity of the treatment and quantity of the shock waves administered; hypertension was related to treatment of stones in both kidneys.
Shock wave lithotripsy uses shock waves to break up an impassable kidney stone into smaller, sandlike pieces which can be passed spontaneously, usually within a month. The patient and the lithotriptor that emits the shock waves are placed in a water bath. Water allows easier conduction of the shock waves through the patients tissue and precise focus on the kidney stone.
"This is a completely new finding," says Amy Krambeck, M.D., Mayo Clinic urology resident and lead study investigator. "This opens the eyes of the world of urology to the fact that hypertension and diabetes are potential side effects. We cant say with 100 percent certainty that the shock wave treatment for the kidney stones caused diabetes and hypertension, but the association was very strong. The risk of developing diabetes after shock wave lithotripsy is almost four times the risk of people with kidney stones treated with medicine, and the risk of developing hypertension is one and one-half times, which is a significant risk increase."
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