Objectives To determine the efficacy of extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy (ESWL) in young children and to evaluate, using renal scintigraphy, any possible adverse effects on renal parenchyma.
Patients and methods From January 1991 to October 1998, 19 infants (aged 5–24 months) underwent ESWL for kidney urolithiasis using a Sonolith 3000 (14 kV, Technomed Corp, Lyon, France) or a Nova (14–20 kV, Direx Medical Systems, Paris, France) lithotripter. The treatment and its effects were evaluated using a physical examination, conventional imaging (plain abdominal X-ray and ultrasonography) and renal scintigraphy 24 h before ESWL and again at least 6 months after the last session of treatment.
Results Ten children were rendered stone-free by ESWL after one session and 18 after two sessions. At the follow-up (8 months to 8 years, mean 36 months) no hypertension was recorded and no acquired parenchymal damage was detected with conventional imaging. No scars or significant variation of differential function attributable to ESWL were identified on renal scintigraphy.
Conclusion ESWL is clearly effective for treating infant urolithiasis. There were no renal parenchymal lesions associated with ESWL, even in previously damaged kidneys or after the treatment of staghorn calculi. A long-term follow-up (assessing blood pressure) is mandatory and renal scintigraphy before and 6 months after ESWL in infants is recommended to confirm these results in a larger series.