National Imaging Trends after Ureteroscopic or Shock Wave Lithotripsy for Nephrolithiasis

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Purpose:The study of diagnostic imaging after procedural intervention for nephrolithiasis is limited. We sought to characterize actual national imaging patterns and longitudinal trends after ureteroscopic or shock wave lithotripsy.Materials and Methods:We analyzed the MarketScan® database and identified a nationally representative sample of insured, employed patients, 17 to 64 years old who underwent ureteroscopic or shock wave lithotripsy for nephrolithiasis between 2007 and 2014. Patients were excluded from study if they lacked at least 1 year of postoperative database enrollment or underwent a repeat nephrolithiasis procedure of any type within 90 days after the initial procedure. We identified and tracked postoperative imaging modalities by medical billing codes.Results:We identified 101,554 patients treated with ureteroscopy, of whom 55% and 39% underwent no postoperative imaging within 3 and 12 months, respectively. Of the 101,590 patients treated with shock wave lithotripsy 23% and 16% underwent no postoperative imaging within 3 and 12 months, respectively. Abdominal x-ray was the most common imaging modality after either procedure type. Ultrasound use increased with time while computerized tomography decreased. In about 25% of ureteroscopy and shock wave lithotripsy cases at least 1 postoperative computerized tomography was done within a year. Female gender and older age were associated with higher imaging rates. Ultrasound was more commonly performed in the northeast region and in more densely populated areas.Conclusions:A notable portion of patients treated with ureteroscopy and a smaller percent treated with shock wave lithotripsy do not undergo any followup imaging within 1 year. In the majority who undergo imaging abdominal x-ray is done, precluding the ability to screen for hydronephrosis or silent obstruction in almost 75% of patients treated with ureteroscopy.

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