We compare the efficacy of percutaneous nephrostomy with retrograde ureteral catheterization for renal drainage in cases of obstruction and infection associated with ureteral calculi.Materials and Methods
We randomized 42 consecutive patients presenting with obstructing ureteral calculi and clinical signs of infection (temperature greater than 38C and/or white blood count greater than 17,000/mm.3) to drainage with percutaneous nephrostomy or retrograde ureteral catheterization. Preoperative patient and stone characteristics, procedural parameters, clinical outcomes and costs were assessed for each group.Results
Urine cultures obtained at drainage were positive in 69.9% of percutaneous nephrostomy and 19.1% of retrograde ureteral catheterization patients. There was no significant difference in the time to treatment between the 2 groups. Procedural and fluoroscopy times were significantly shorter in the retrograde ureteral catheterization (32.7 and 5.1 minutes, respectively) compared with the percutaneous nephrostomy (49.2 and 7.7 minutes, respectively) group. One treatment failure occurred in the percutaneous nephrostomy group, which was successfully salvaged with retrograde ureteral catheterization. Time to normal temperature was 2.3 days in the percutaneous nephrostomy and 2.6 in the retrograde ureteral catheterization group, and time to normal white blood count was 2 days in the percutaneous nephrostomy and 1.7 days in the retrograde ureteral catheterization group (p not significant). Length of stay was 4.5 days in the percutaneous nephrostomy group compared with 3.2 days in the retrograde ureteral catheterization group (p not significant). Cost analysis revealed that retrograde ureteral catheterization was twice as costly as percutaneous nephrostomy.Conclusions
Retrograde ureteral catheterization and percutaneous nephrostomy effectively relieve obstruction and infection due to ureteral calculi. Neither modality demonstrated superiority in promoting a more rapid recovery after drainage. Percutaneous nephrostomy is less costly than retrograde ureteral catheterization. The decision of which mode of drainage to use may be based on logistical factors, surgeon preference and stone characteristics.