Cholelithiasis and the Risk of Nephrolithiasis

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Existing data on the relation between gallstones and kidney stones are provocative but limited. Therefore, we determined whether symptomatic radiographically confirmed gallstones (and/or cholecystectomy) and symptomatic kidney stone disease are independently associated.

Materials and Methods

We conducted cross-sectional and prospective analyses in the Nurses' Health Studies I and II (older and younger women, respectively) and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (men) that included more than 240,000 participants followed for 14 to 24 years. Regression models adjusted for age, body size, thiazide use, diet and other factors.


At baseline the multivariate odds ratio of kidney stone history in individuals with gallstone history compared to those without was 1.65 (95% CI 1.46–1.86) in older women, 1.85 (95% CI 1.65–2.07) in younger women and 1.61 (95% CI 1.41–1.85) in men. Prospectively, the multivariate relative risk of incident kidney stones in participants with gallstone history compared to those without was 1.26 (95% CI 1.09–1.44) in older women, 1.32 (95% CI 1.14–1.52) in younger women and 1.28 (95% CI 1.03–1.57) in men. The multivariate relative risk of incident gallstones in participants with kidney stone history compared to those without was 1.17 (95% CI 1.06–1.29) in older women, 1.31 (95% CI 1.19–1.45) in younger women and 1.51 (95% CI 1.35–1.68) in men. Prospective lag analyses instituting a delay of 4 years between the diagnoses of gallstones and kidney stones yielded similar results.


Gallstones and kidney stones are independently associated. Additional studies are needed to identify shared mechanisms underlying both diseases.

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