Healthsheet

Kidney Stones: Your Evaluation

Kidney Stones: Your Evaluation

A medical evaluation helps your doctor find out what’s causing your symptoms. A health history and physical exam may reveal signs of a stone. Diagnostic studies can confirm the presence of a stone and locate it. Detailed metabolic tests of your blood, urine, and the stone may also be done. These test results help your doctor recommend treatment.

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Diagnostic Tests

These tests confirm your doctor’s diagnosis. They can detect infection or reveal the image of a stone. You may not need all of these tests.

  • Urinalysis looks for blood in the urine (hematuria), one sign of a stone. Pus in the urine (pyuria) suggests a stone or infection.

  • A urine culture can reveal a urinary tract infection. Test results appear 24–48 hours after the urine sample is collected.

  • Blood tests can confirm a kidney infection. They show any abnormalities in the white cell count of your blood.

  • A KUB (Kidney, Ureter, Bladder) x-ray provides a view of the entire abdomen. An IVP (intravenous pyelogram) x-ray uses dye to locate your stone.

  • Ultrasound uses sound waves to create a picture of the kidney. This helps show stones and reveal blockages in the urinary tract.

  • A CT (computed tomography) scan takes multiple x-rays of the urinary tract. This helps locate and identify a stone. A CT scan can be done without dye. This makes it safe for patients who have dye allergies or kidney disease.

Metabolic Tests

If you have a stone, your doctor may order one or more metabolic tests. These tests may show why you formed a stone. And they show what kind of stone you may form in the future. This helps your doctor plan your treatment and prevention program.

  • Stone analysis shows your stone’s chemical makeup, if the stone is retrieved. This may suggest the cause of your stone.

  • Blood tests measure your levels of stone-related chemicals, such as calcium.

  • A 24-hour urine sample shows the levels of stone-related chemicals in your urine. You collect all your urine for 24 hours in a special container.

  • Provocative tests show how your kidneys handle chemicals, such as calcium. The tests monitor your response to low- or high-calcium diets.


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