Philippou, P., Lamrani, D., Moraitis, K. et al. Urol Res (2012) 40: 299. doi:10.1007/s00240-011-0424-4
The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of age on the efficacy of extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (SWL), in a comparative study based on the principles of matched-pair analysis. Over a period of 4 years, 2,311 patients were treated with SWL in a tertiary referral center. Patient and stone data were recorded in a prospective electronic database. Among these patients, 115 (4.97%) were older than 70 years of age and fulfilled the criteria for inclusion in the study (Group A). For the purposes of the comparative analysis, Group A patients were matched for gender and stone parameters (side, location of stone, and diameter ±2 mm) with a control group of patients under the age of 70 (Group B). Following matching, the patients’ electronic medical records were reviewed, to identify SWL success rates at 3 months and McNemar’s test was used to compare the efficacy of SWL between the two groups. Matching was possible in all cases. The results indicate that there were no statistically significant differences in the mean number of SWL sessions or in the mean number of impulses per session between the two groups. The overall stone clearance rate achieved by SWL alone was 71.3% for Group A and 73.9% for group B. Discordant pairs were found in 37 cases (in 17 pairs only patients in Group A became stone-free, while in 20 pairs only patients in Group B became stone-free). By using McNemar’s test, the difference in stone clearance rates between the two groups was not found to be statistically significant (p = 0.742). A total of 22 patients (19.1%) in Group A and 17 patients (14.7%) in Group B underwent an adjuvant procedure to achieve stone clearance. McNemar’s test also revealed the absence of any statistically significant difference in SWL success rates between older and younger patients in the subgroups of patients presenting with either ureteric or renal stones (p = 0.727 and p = 0.571, respectively). In conclusion, SWL is still considered one of the first-line tools for geriatric patients suffering from urolithiasis, as increased age alone does not seem to adversely affect the efficacy of SWL.