Urgent ureteroscopy as first-line treatment for ureteral stones: A meta-analysis of 681 patients

Stefano C M Picozzi, Cristian Ricci, Maddalena Gaeta, Stefano Casellato, Robert Stubinski, Giorgio Bozzini, Gianna Pace, Alberto Macchi, Luca Carmignani

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There are various recent studies on the use of ureteroscopy and debate on whether this should be the firstline treatment for patients with ureteral stones. The aim of this meta-analysis was to understand the role of this surgical procedure in the emergency setting as first-line treatment and to compare the immediate procedure with a delayed one in terms of stone-free rate and complications. A bibliographic search covering the period from January 1980 to March 2010 was conducted in PubMed, MEDLINE and EMBASE. This analysis is based on the six studies found that fulfilled the predefined inclusion criteria. A total of 681 participants were included. The number of participants in each of the studies considered ranged from 27 to 244 (mean 113). Stone-free rates were 81.9% (72.0-91.8) for the proximal ureter, 87.3% (82.6-92.0) for the mid-ureter, 94.9% (92.1-97.6) for the distal ureter and 89.5% (86.5-92.5) overall according to the logistic regression applied. These values are not statistically significantly different from those reported in the AUA and EAU guidelines. The stone diameter seems to affect the stone-free rate. An increase of the stone diameter of 1 mm beyond 8 mm corresponded to a reduction of stone-free rate of 5% (2.4-8.0) and 8.1% (3.8-12.1) for the distal and proximal ureters, respectively. There is a complete lack of information in international guidelines on the ureteroscopic management of ureteral stones in an emergency setting and the currently available results are dispersed in a few studies in the literature. The rationale for using emergency ureteroscopy is more rapid stone clearance and relief from colic pain. According to our meta-analysis, immediate ureteroscopy for ureteral stone colic seems to be a safe treatment with a high success rate. This evidence will be validated byfurther randomized studies, with larger series of patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-586
Number of pages6
JournalUrological Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • Emergency
  • Hydronephrosis
  • Renal colic
  • Stone
  • Ureter
  • Ureteral stone
  • Ureteroscopy
  • Urgent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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