Enteral nutrition and the risk of nephrolithiasis in complex pediatric patients



      Medically complex, non-ambulatory children can often suffer from nephrolithiasis. The purpose of this study is to determine risk factors which are predictive for recurrent stone formation in this patient population.

      Material and methods

      A retrospective cohort study was performed on non-ambulatory patients with cerebral palsy and/or severe developmental delay presenting to a high-volume Pediatric Stone Center from 2015 to 2019. Two 24-hour urine collections were performed as a baseline prior to pharmacotherapeutic and/or dietary intervention. Healthy stone-forming children served as a control group.


      28 non-ambulatory subjects and 38 healthy controls were evaluated. The study group had a higher rate of bilateral nephrolithiasis but a similar history of previous surgical procedures. 89% of the non-ambulatory children were fed via a gastrostomy. The median calcium excretion was the same in both groups (3.0 mg/kg/day). The median 24-hour excretion of oxalate was significantly increased in the study group (54 vs 31 mg/1.73 m2/day, p = 0.0001). Urinary citrate and phosphorus excretions, and the supersaturations of calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate were similar between study subjects and controls. Calcium oxalate stones were noted in 57% of those with known stone composition in the study group. Enteral feeding formulas were primarily based on soy protein, a known high oxalate food.


      Urinary oxalate excretion is significantly increased in a cohort of medically complex, non-ambulatory stone-forming children. Urinary calcium excretion was not elevated between study subjects and healthy controls. Further analysis is needed to assess if dietary intervention to limit oxalate excretion results in decreased stone formation.


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      Linked Article

      • Enteral feeding programs and hyperoxaluria: Is there a missing link?
        Journal of Pediatric UrologyVol. 18Issue 6
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          Children with complex medical conditions pose many difficulties in the evaluation and prevention of their nephrolithiasis episodes. DeFoor et al. present the next logical step in understanding the etiology of urinary stone disease in these children. The authors investigated the 24-h urine analyses of children with complex chronic conditions, many of whom depend upon enteral nutrition, and compared these to an unmatched cohort of otherwise healthy children with nephrolithiasis. While such an analysis is limited due to the retrospective and uncontrolled nature of the assessments, the difficulty in obtaining urine samples in such a population makes this study a valuable manuscript for future reference.
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