Urine metabolic risk factors and outcomes of patients with kidney transplant nephrolithiasis

Erin Bolen, Karen Stern, Mitchell Humphreys, Alexandra Brady, Todd Leavitt, Nan Zhang, Mira Keddis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Nephrolithiasis in allograft kidneys is rare, but this diagnosis may lead to allograft complications and patient morbidity. Previous studies that have evaluated nephrolithiasis posttransplant have focused on surgical stone management, with limited data on urine metabolic risk factors and the presence of stones after follow-up. Methods: We retrospectively evaluated kidney transplant recipients who were diagnosed with transplant nephrolithiasis between 2009 and 2019. Computed tomography and ultrasound imaging were used to confirm stone presence. Results: The incidence of allograft kidney stone formation was 0.86% of 6548 kidney transplant recipients. Of the 56 cases identified, 17 (30%) had a pretransplant history of nephrolithiasis. Only four (7%) patients received a known kidney stone at the time of allograft implantation. Of the 56 cases, 34 had a 24-h supersaturation study. The urine supersaturation study showed 32 patients (94%) had a urine citrate of <450 mg excreted in 24 h (median 124.5 mg/24 h, reference range >500 mg/24 h), along with 22 patients (61%) having a urine oxalate excretion of ≥30 mg in 24 h (median 34.4 mg/24 h, reference range <30 mg/24 h). Calcium oxalate composition was most common (91% with >1 supersaturation for calcium oxalate crystals), with normal median urine calcium levels (median urine calcium 103.5 mg/24 h, reference range <200 mg/24 h). After a 4-year follow-up, 50% (n = 28) required surgical intervention and 43 (77%) patients continued to have evidence of transplant nephrolithiasis on imaging. Conclusions: This is the largest study of transplant nephrolithiasis confirming that hypocitraturia and hyperoxaluria were the most significant urine metabolic risk factors associated with allograft nephrolithiasis and that hyperoxaluria was the most prevalent driver for calcium oxalate stone composition. Our study is first to show low stone-free rates at the last follow-up and a significant proportion requiring surgical intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)500-506
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Kidney Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


  • hyperoxaluria
  • hypocitraturia
  • kidney stone
  • kidney transplantation
  • nephrolithiasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation


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