Chapter Eight: Uric Acid Stones

Uric acid stones, to me, means not just pure uric acid stones but any uric acid in stones. If this seems fey, let me explain. Uric acid is a peculiar kind of crystal. Low urine pH causes them and treatment that raise urine pH prevent them altogether. Whether they form combined with calcium stones or pure, treatment is the same.

Why then scruple over percentages? If I find uric acid in any stone, I look at urine pH with a yellow eye. Should it be low I treat it surely and on the moment so at least that crystal be banished forever.

The Profligate Punished by Neglect, Edward Penny 1774 catches the common motif of diet excess, obesity, diabetes, and gout – the joint manifestations of uric acid crystals. Note the abdominal fat denoted by his overly tight vest. All of these states can lower urine pH and lead to uric acid stones.

This article has a pragmatic leaning and eschews excessive scientific details. I have written a more mechanistic article that explores how the low urine pH might arise and cause uric acid stones. Read this one first unless you are already reasonably expert.

Who Are Uric Acid Stone Formers

Stone Analysis

Given my prior reasoning, I call patients who have any uric acid in their stones uric acid stone formers but reserve the right to use compound names when needed. If all stones are only uric acid, I call such patients pure uric acid stone formers. Those whose stones contain uric acid and other crystals I call mixed uric acid /x stone formers: mixed uric acid calcium oxalate, mixed uric acid calcium phosphate stone formers, as examples.

These niceties of naming have the practical value of calling to mind the perpetual need for dual or multiple treatments – for uric acid but also for whatever crystals might be present.

Radiographic Evaluation

Commonly uric acid stones show poorly on routine flat plate x rays having only carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and no heavier atoms such as calcium. On CT scans they do not look different from calcium stones but radiographic density can be measured and tends to be lower. As this article points out, machines differ in their results and evaluation may therefore be less than perfect. Dual energy scanners are more precise, but also prone to many potential artefacts. Multiple reports, by contrast, indicate that CT measurements of radiographic density can reliably distinguish uric acid stones from calcium stones.

A reasonable present view is that lower radiographic density is an excellent clue to uric acid in stones, but far from definitive as stone analysis is. I hesitate to classify a patient on scanning evidence alone.

Signs and Symptoms of Uric Acid Stones

Pigmented Stones and Crystals

Being stones, uric acid stones cause the usual problems of pain, obstruction, bleeding and infection. But they have some special features. The most obvious is stone color – red to orange because the crystals take up a variety of pigments mostly derived from hemoglobin breakdown. Recently scientists have determined the structure of one of these – urorosein.  Sometimes, coarse or fine orange or red gravel passes, made up of uric acid crystals.

Rapid Crystallization, and Stone Growth

Because the crystals form not as a complex lattice like calcium with oxalate or with phosphate but simply as uric acid crystallizing with itself, the process can be swift to begin and require very little supersaturation. Said more technically the energy required to create the crystal is relatively low. This means the upper limit of metastability – the supersaturation needed to initiate crystal formation is not far from solubility, so values above 1 even if below 2, could suffice. Practically it means that bursts of supersaturation during the day can bring on showers of gravel and growth of stones.

Also, urine contains a lot of uric acid. Common daily losses of oxalate approximate perhaps 25 – 50 mg, compared to 600 – 1,000 mg of uric acid. The sheer amounts available when coupled to the rapid and facile crystal formation and growth allow stones to enlarge rapidly and achieve very large sizes, enough to fill the renal pelvis and calyces – so called staghorn stones.

Acute Uric Acid Nephropathy

Very uncommonly, sudden lowering of urine pH coupled with low urine volume can cause crystallizations in the terminal collecting ducts with acute kidney failure. This was once not uncommon during treatment of malignancies, but modern attention to uric acid surges from tumor killing has made it rare indeed. Today, one does not expect to see it apart from unusual situations

Uric Acid Supersaturation

I made the figures for this section anew but from a lovely data file constructed some years ago by Joan Parks, who was my scientific colleague from 1976 until her retirement about 8 years ago. Her legacy of curated data files sustains a lot of my public writing, now, and she deserves a place in it. 

Effects of Urine pH

Uric acid crystals form like all crystals because of supersaturation. In this instance, that supersaturation varies remarkably with urine pH.

In the figure, supersaturation ranges from 0.01 to 10 fold. The dashed line at 1 represents equilibrium, or saturation, the level where crystals neither form nor dissolve. The horizontal axis shows urine pH. The dashed lines at 5.5 – acid urine and 6 neither acid nor alkaline urine are for visual reference.

The tiny points each are one 24 hour urine from patients and normal people. Like an ancient Persian scimitar, points curve downward from 8 to 0.03 as pH rises from 4.5 to 7.5.

Effects of Urine Volume

Urine volume matters. Low volumes (red) 0.5 to 1 liter/day give higher supersaturation than 1 to 1.5 liters/day (green), and 1.5 to 2 and above 2 liters/day (blue and black) lower supersaturation progressively.

But pH trumps volume. At pH 5.5, the whose distance from red to black varies supersaturation between about 2 and 5 fold (use the lines for averages) whereas raising pH from 5.5 to 6 brings almost all the points down below 1. Below 5.5 virtually no points are below 1 at even above 2 liters of urine volume daily.

Effects of Uric Acid Excretion

In speaking about excretion of uric acid we need to insert a note about the molecular species involved.

Form of Uric Acid in Urine

Uric acid is a weak acid, which means it can take up or donate a proton to water. When it has its proton, that proton neutralizes much of its charge, so water molecules cannot themselves form charge bonds with it to keep it in solution. This means that the molecule becomes very poorly soluble and tends to crystallize.

When it loses its proton into solution, it has a charged site for water to relate to and also requires a counterion, which in urine will be sodium, potassium, and ammonium ion. These ‘salts’ of urate – the name for uric acid when it has given up its proton and is a charged ion – can themselves form crystals just like calcium and oxalate form a salt – calcium oxalate – that can crystallize. But all three salts have much higher solubility than uric acid itself.

Effect of Uric Acid Excretion on Supersaturation

When we measure and report urine uric acid excretion we show the sum of all salts and the acid in one number. Obviously this total should affect supersaturation, but the effect is relatively small because so much depends on pH that sets the percentage of uric acid per se – the fraction that has its proton and is therefore poorly soluble.

Here, red, green, blue and black stand for below 500, 500 to 750, 750 to 1,000, and over 1,000 mg/d of urine uric acid excretion respectively. As for urine volume, the total amount of uric acid matters; a fivefold increase from below 500 mg to over 1,000 mg/day raises supersaturation at pH 5.5 from about 1.2 to about 3 fold.

Urine pH of Stone Formers

One presumes that urine pH of uric acid stone formers must lie below that of other kinds of stone formers, and numerous reviews and case descriptions have proven this true.

My own collected data make the point as well as any.

The dot distribution just below shows individual 24 hour urine pH measurements for calcium oxalate (blue), calcium phosphate (green) and uric acid (red) stone formers. Here I include among uric acid stone formers those with both pure and mixed stones.

Calcium oxalate stone former pH ranges widely with an average at about 5.8 pH units. Calcium phosphate stone formers average a lot higher – around 6.4.

Uric acid stone formers lie in an acid range. Their average is about 5.3 – 5.4 and only a tiny scattering of points range above 6. So uric acid stone formers produce a very acid urine compared to other stone formers, and the pH is exactly in the range to produce supersaturation that can drive formation of uric acid stones and hold them steady or cause them to grow.

To see this, just look back on the graphs showing supersaturation vs. urine pH. Below 5.5 values almost all lie above 1 – solubility – meaning that crystals can form and grow.

UA Fraction in Stones

The General Pattern

I have said that any uric acid in stones means pH should be raised because at least that portion of the stone burden might dissolve or at leasts not grow.

The figure below shows urine pH associated not with the kind of patient – calcium oxalate, calcium phosphate or uric acid stone former, but by the fraction of a given stone made up of uric acid.

Blue means no uric acid at all. Red means 100% of the stone is uric acid, and pink and green lesser amounts. With a scattered few points as exceptions, stones made of mainly uric acid go with urine pH values mostly below 5.5.

The graph makes a point we often speak of but rarely show. Oxalic acid has a very low pKa – is a strong weak acid. So it has charges available for binding to calcium that very hardly at all with urine pH all the way down to 4.5, about the lowest value human kidneys attain. So these stone crystals are indifferent to pH.

Paucity of Mixed Stones

I makes another point, too, one that a patient emphasized in a comment to this article and that I failed to mention in the original version. Of all stones that contain any uric acid, at least in my collection of data, most are mainly composed of uric acid. See where the red – pure uric acid – stones make up the largest mass in the figure just above?

This is not to say that patients are uncommon who make both calcium and uric acid stones – mixed stone formers. The graph shows the stones themselves. People who make both kinds of stones need treatment with alkali so they will stop making uric acid crystals. They also may need treatment against their calcium stones. Stones that contain both uric acid and calcium – usually calcium oxalate – mean the patients may need treatment against both their uric acid stone formation – that would be alkali, and for their calcium stone forming.

So in the final analysis, whether the stones are mixed, or patients form both uric acid and calcium stones the answer is the same: Treat against both crystals.

Who Produce Uric Acid Stones?

Low pH Without Intestinal Disease

Genetic Factors

In identical twin studies, urine pH had only a 60% concordance compared to over 90% for calcium excretion. In a larger study urine pH seems as heritable as urine calcium excretion. Of interest, such dietary traits as sugar, calcium, and protein consumption that could influence stone formation also had significant heritability.

Systemic Disorders

Historically, uric acid stones have been linked to gout. A recent but brief review repeats that fact. Likewise, another review.

Given low urine pH drives uric acid crystallization, one has to ask whether some kinds of patients might be expected to produce acid urines. In answer, those most common are obese, older, diabetic, hypertensive, and prone to modest reduction of kidney function. Obesity itself, without necessarily overt diabetes correlates with lower urine pH in a progressive manner – as obesity increases urine pH falls

Resistance to the actions of insulin – so called insulin resistance – is often invoked as a general paradigm to encompass the general class of abnormalities that lower urine pH. Metabolic syndrome, a mix of insulin resistance with lipid and vascular abnormalities is linked to kidney stones. But not to uric acid stones per se. Attempts to link uric acid stones to gut bacteria – use of the genetically defined biome -failed in a tiny study to disclose any species unique to uric acid stones.

Kidney Physiology

At least one specific abnormality that produces the low pH is an inadequate production of ammonia with which kidneys can remove acid. I plan another article on uric acid stone formation that will review the underlying disease mechanisms, and do not wish to burden this text with more detail. The linked articles from the group at UT Southwestern Medical School give access to the best current work on the subject. Essentially uric acid stone formers respond to acid load with less ammonia than normal people. Insulin resistance probably produces the renal tubule abnormality.

The issue is complex, as illustrated by a recent publication that found no evidence for low urine ammonia in uric acid stone formers. But the conditions of that study – mere measurements made in uric acid stone formers with comparisons to normal ranges hardly have any power to test the ammonia hypothesis.

In an elegant analysis of a single patient, Kamel and his colleagues point out two matters I use in my own work. Urine ammonia needs to be viewed in relation to urine sulfate – the net acid load. Likewise, the low urine ammonia of their case was accompanied by a high urine citrate – this occurs when proximal tubule cells consider themselves in an alkaline state that would cause a fall in ammonia production

I have allowed myself a bit more about the urine pH than perhaps is ideal, and will end here. Either I will write another article on this subject or expand this one with my own data on ammonia and citrate.

Intestinal Causes

Intestinal Diseases

Any organic cause of diarrhea can lower urine pH because the fluids contain appreciable bicarbonate, the main blood buffer. In turn kidneys increase acid excretion in compensation. This requires both an increase of ammonia excretion and lowering of urine pH. Common situations include small bowel resection for such conditions as Crohn disease and partial or complete loss of colon. The latter, ileostomy, can cause marked alkali loss with acid urine and uric acid stones.

Chronic intestinal fluid losses also deplete body sodium and potassium. The 24 hour urine is very valuable for assessing both as excretion rates fall with such losses. Repletion with a mixture of sodium and potassium alkali is often valuable.

Bariatric Surgery

Howsoever valuable, these can result in both enteric hyperoxaluria and chronic alkali loss so calcium oxalate and uric acid stones do occur. The former are more common. This recent and excellent review details new stone frequencies but stone analyses are not widely reported so I cannot state the balance between calcium oxalate and uric acid crystals. Treatment with potassium alkali is recommended to increase citrate and pH.

Overuse of Laxatives

By increasing Gi fluid and alkali losses one might think these drugs would cause uric acid stones. In fact, a recent review of reported cases – not many! – suggests that mainly low urine volumes from fluid loss causes calcium stones. Not uric acid, in fact, but ammonium urate stones have been documented. I presume they represent induction of ammonia production by the potassium depletion from the diarrhea. As ammonia increases urine pH can rise despite loss of alkali and the higher pH would favor the ammonium acid urate salt.

What Happens With Treatment

Changes in Urine pH

In principle, potassium alkali in the proper dose will raise urine pH and abolish uric acid formation. The reality of practice has a bit less perfection.

These are data from my own work.

The original pretreatment urine pH values are at the top of the figure, for reference, in red. Below them, in pink squares the treatment data show a large shift toward high urine pH so that a majority of values lie above the pretreatment ones. But some patients did not take their medications, and in some I miscalculated the dose needed.

Even with this natural variation in physician intent and patient willingness, the shift of pH with treatment was drastic in my own practice.

Given the powerful dominance of pH over supersaturation, I decided to not add a figure showing that supersaturation fell – it would be redundant.

Treatment Complexities


Although potassium alkali – potassium citrate or potassium bicarbonate preparations are an obvious and widely used treatment, the kind of patients involved – often older, diabetic – may not tolerate large amounts of extra potassium without increasing serum potassium. Especially, common and effective blood pressure medications such as angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors or receptor blockers can worsen the risk. Typically most clinicians are aware of the problem and proceed based on serum potassium level and whether kidney function is normal or not. Sometimes I use a low dose of thiazide diuretic along with potassium citrate – the diuretic to foster renal potassium loss. This can enable patients to get more alkali without risk of raising serum potassium.


In the intestinal diseases, sodium depletion may be great enough one wants to use sodium alkali. I prefer inexpensive sodium bicarbonate tablets bought over the counter, being cheap and easy to use. Two provide about 13 mEq of base.


I almost always begin with 40 mEq daily and repeat the 24 hour urine measurements. Spot urine pH testing with pH paper never impresses me as very useful because results scatter and, after all, what most matters is average supersaturation over the day. These crystals can form and dissolve rather rapidly, and one hopes to achieve 24 hour average SS below 1. Overnight is clearly a high risk because of lower urine volumes so a nighttime dose of alkali before bed seems reasonable. If I need to I increase dosing in 20 mEq/day increments.

Effect on Uric Acid Stones

Uric acid in stones has a different meaning than we attach to calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate, or even cystine. This crystal can be prevented by raising urine pH within the common physiological range between 4.5 and 6. This means that simple alkali treatment should and will prevent such crystals in stones. Likewise, lowering supersaturation below 1 must eventually reduce kidney stone mass. Put another way, not guile or special knowledge but simply persistence with alkali use must inevitably stop uric acid crystallization.

Even so, data are hard to come by. This small report says that 91% of 24 uric acid stone formers treated with potassium citrate had no recurrence after a mean of 31 months.

No Formal Trials

A look on PubMed found no prospective uric acid stone prevention trials.

(For the purists, this was my search: ((“prevention and control”[Subheading] OR (“prevention”[All Fields] AND “control”[All Fields]) OR “prevention and control”[All Fields] OR “prevention”[All Fields]) AND (“uric acid”[MeSH Terms] OR (“uric”[All Fields] AND “acid”[All Fields]) OR “uric acid”[All Fields]) AND (“calculi”[MeSH Terms] OR “calculi”[All Fields] OR “stones”[All Fields])) AND Clinical Trial[ptyp])

I am not surprised. Given all we know can we assign such patients to a control group that does not receive alkali? Given the ease of use should one even try to do so?

I say not.


127 Responses to “Chapter Eight: Uric Acid Stones”

  1. Robert Bernardini

    I recently got results of an ultrasound showing 2 bladder stones, one of which is 27 mm, and one kidney stone 4mm. Does what you say in your articles on kidney stones apply to bladder stones? I’ve had sometimes severe pain on urination for several months and thought it was due possibly to prostate enlargement and tried to make dietary changes to address that, but the pain got too much and hence my trip to a urologist. I do not know what the compostion of the stones are. I have been drinking a lot of lemon juice, watermelon for citrate which sometimes seems to help; and using potassium chloride (NuSalt) for potassium. Is that form of potassium going to make a difference? I had been eating a lot of meat for years (Paleo diet… uric acid overload???) and never noticed how much I peed volume wise, so maybe I wasn’t drinking enough water. Is 27 mm something that can be broken up with laser or ultrasound or lithotripsy? Also, they scanned the bladder and said I was not retaining unusual amounts of urine. The ultrasound showed my bladder wall was 11 mm of the posterior bladder wall (what is normal?) and “no evidence of hydronephrosis bilaterally” I would like to avoid any kind of intrusive procedures if possible. Any comments would be greatly appreciated. I don’thave results of urinalysis yet, my next appointment is not for a couple weeks. Your work on this subject is amazing and has been very helpful in me understanding all this better. Thanks so much!

    • Fredric L Coe

      Hi Robert, bladder stones almost always arise because of outflow obstruction, so I would ask your urologist to be sure. Simple crystallizations simply pass by without retention in the bladder. The kidney stone is another matter. I would be fully evaluated as to cause of the stones, including appropriate 24 hour urine testing and serums. Uric acid is indeed a plausible possibility as you note by your choice of article. Prevention without known cause rarely works, so get testing. If there is any stone removed have it analysed. Regards, Fred Coe

  2. Mary Young

    Dr. KO, thank you for being such a generous doctor answering questions. You answer more questions than my regular doctor. My question is on diet for uric acid Stone formers. We are told to follow an alkaline diet and a low purine diet. The problem is that many of the alkaline foods are very high in purines. So these two diets seem to cancel each other out. For someone like me who has normal uric acid in their blood, high uric acid in their 24-hour urine, and a pH in my urine of 5.3, if I had to choose which diet to follow that would be most beneficial would I choose the alkaline diet or the low purine diet? I am on allopurinol and potassium citrate at 20 meq a day. My blood serum potassium is high end of normal so I cannot increase my potassium citrate. So which diet do you think would be better for me to follow? Again thank you so much for how much you care about everyone.

    • Fredric L Coe

      Hi Mary, Diet will not prevent uric acid stones very well, so you will need alkali. Low purine diet has very limited effect in that with your low urine pH even modest amounts of total UA will lead to crystals. Your blood potassium should not be high with your dose of K citrate unless you have kidney disease, are diabetic, or are getting blood drawn soon after taking the medication. If you have a reason for the elevated blood potassium you might mention to your physician adding a low dose of chlorthalidone or indapamide, these diuretics foster potassium loss and permit full dosing which is the only thing that will prevent your stones reliably. Regards, Fred Coe

  3. Mary Young

    What does this mean:
    “Sometimes I have urine potassium citrate with a low dose of thiazide diuretic – the latter to foster renal potassium loss.”
    Does it mean it’s good to give thiazide diuretic with potassium citrate to raise pH levels in urine? I asked this cuz we are having trouble raising my pH level in urine. I’m on 20 meq of potassium citrate a day. my potassium blood serum level is at the very top of normal so I cannot take any more potassium citrate higher than that of 20 meq. My doctor has not offered any other way to raise pH in my urine. I am following a low purine diet. Still my urine pH remains at 5.3 or lower. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Frederic L Coe

      Dear Mary, How lovely of you to read so carefully. Of course I left a silliness in my prose. I should have said sometimes I use potassium citrate with a low dose of a thiazide diuretic… The purpose is to provide a way to foster potassium excretion by the kidneys so the dose of potassium citrate can be increased. I have just edited the remark: “Sometimes I use a low dose of thiazide diuretic along with potassium citrate – the diuretic to foster renal potassium loss. This can enable patients to get more alkali without risk of raising serum potassium.” Speak with your physician about more potassium citrate, and if serum potassium rises, use the thiazide (I like chlorthalidone 12.5 mg) to keep it lower. Regards, and thanks, Fred

  4. santhni Singham

    Hi Dr Coe,
    2 days back I was diagnosed with a 8mm uric acid stone in my right kidney. My urologist has asked me to take a medication called ‘Cystone Himalaya’. I would like to know, is an 8mm stone passable naturally. Are there any medication that can dissolve the stone of this size to make it smaller? I am very worried. My next appointment is in 6 months time.

  5. Jim Bic

    Hi Dr Coe, firstly thank you for your expertise and research on Kidney Stones, I appreciate it. Just recently had a kidney stone episode and after analysis, it was determined it was a Uric Acid Stone. I have had chronic nausea for about two years now, and after passing this stone, I’m feeling better. Two questions: Could the stone have caused nausea in that time and any advice on not forming other ones in the future? Thanks

    • Fredric Coe, MD

      Hi Jim, Stones can cause nausea when they obstruct. As for the uric acid stone the article you have written on has the main message: caused by acid urine pH prevented absolutely by potassium citrate to raise urine pH above 6. No one with uric acid stones should be without alkali, and no one taking alkali should form another uric acid stone if the dose is right and the urine volume in a reasonable 2 liter range. Regards, Fred Coe

      • Sandy infante

        Dr come, I formed a Uric acid stone and have been trying to lower Oxalates also, but should I be more concerned with increasing my ph? My primary care doctor recommended that I start an alkaline diet to heal my esophagus bc of acid reflux and it seems that I will also be helping prevent Uric acid stones, is this correct? So should I not be as concerned about Oxalates? Anxiously waiting your reply , Sandy

        • Sandy

          So Sorry about the auto correct on your name.

        • Fredric Coe, MD

          Hi Sandy, As you can see from the article, oxalate would have no place in uric acid stones. Alkaline diet is not a bad idea but not likely to be sufficient for prevention unless your 24 hour urine pH rises above 6. Low pH is all there is to uric acid stones, and raising urine pH all you need to do. There is no reason to bother yourself about oxalate at all unless your stones contain oxalate. Some uric acid stones contain calcium oxalate, and if so that part of the problem needs its own treatment, so be sure about the analysis. Regards, Fred Coe

          • Sandy

            Yes, Dr Coe, my stone was 80% Uric acid and 20% calcium Oxalate. I have a stone in the left kidney but don’t know what kind it is. After the 24 hr. Urine test , my ph was low, urine calcium was high, low citrate, high sodium and blood test showed low D. So I’ve been trying address each issue. But should I be more concerned with increasing the ph than lowering oxalates? I m a bit nervous about how to manage this, and the reflux too. Stress is not helping me.

            • Frederic L Coe

              Hi Sandy, The urine pH is highest priority as the bulk of the stone is uric acid, so you need potassium citrate 10 mEq maybe 2 twice a day or more, use 24 hour urines to check if you are high enough. Citrate may rise with this medication. Your physician is in charge of this. The high urine calcium accounts for the calcium part of the stone, and the high urine sodium reflects high diet sodium. If you reduce your diet sodium to 2000 mg before your next 24 hour urine the urine calcium may be lower. Urine calcium parallels diet sodium. Oxalate has no priority – your urine level is not high. Your physician may want you to use OTC vitamin D, a good idea and not a stone risk. Regards, Fred Coe

              • Sandy Infante

                Thank you so much Dr. Coe. I want to get started on this. I’m new to mEq’s…does the 10 mEq equate to 750 mg? I want to purchase the potassium citrate but only find it in mg. I appreciate your help, greatly.

              • Frederic L Coe

                Hi Sandy, 10 mEq is 1080 mg of potassium citrate. Regards, Fred

  6. James Steagall

    Hi Dr. Coe,

    Having read your entire Guide Book book and all of the comments, the information you provide is by far the best I have found anywhere, and very much appreciated. I am a 62 year old male with no known issues other than what is stated below. Last week I finally had a 12mm stone removed via laser hopefully ending this 19 day nightmare involving 2 separate procedures.

    The first procedure during my second ER visit placed the first stent and the second one which dusted the stone and placed the second stent 10 days later. This current stone was initially discovered 12 years ago during an unrelated MRI. I was told at the time it was not an issue and that I would know when it was time to deal with it. That time has apparently come with prevention now being my top priority.

    My follow up is scheduled in two days which will be one week from the dusting procedure and 4 days after removing the “string” stent at home. My Dr told me upon release from the hospital that at the first follow up he will start a 24 hour urine test and I assume inform me about the stone’s makeup to device a prevention plan.

    I would like provide you with a brief history as we await my test results.

    20 years ago – Hospitalized while working out of town eventually passing a stone within 2 days of admission. This was my first time experiencing a stone. I do not recall the size but do remember being told it was uric and obviously passable.

    16 years ago – Emergency surgery for a perforated colon which resulted in a 2 foot section being removed with a colostomy bag placed. Fortunately the bag was removed and the colon was reattached in a second surgery with no complications since.

    5 years ago – Heart attack (MI) where 2 stents were placed, so far so good.

    3 years ago – blood tests showed very high levels of potassium but no action by my Dr.

    Over the past 10 years knowing the stone was there, I have had numerous bouts of moderate pain with lots of blood in my urine when it flared up but nothing severe or unbearable, so no action was taken.

    Having regular blood work done for years, I’ve been taking Atorvastatin for elevated cholesterol, Flomax for enlarged prostate and a baby aspirin daily.

    Without know any numbers or test results yet, do you see any correlation or potential correlations from any of this history?

    Kindest Regards,


    • Fredric Coe, MD

      Hi James, You have had stone production years ago and a present stone found 10 – 12 years ago, so you do not seem to be actively forming new stones. The stone itself could have caused the pain and bleeding attacks, unless there is reason to suspect otherwise. Of most importance, gather some of the dust – or be sure your surgeon did – to get an analysis of what the stone was made of. The 24 hour testing will be far more useful with that knowledge. The very high potassium seems a fleeting thing as if constant you would long ago have had extensive testing for it. THe usual reason for a sporadic very high value is hemolysis of the sample during the blood draw. If you have generally high serum potassium that is a special kind of problem your physicians need to correct. The cardiovascular disease has no obvious link to stone production, but stone formers are at higher than average risk for such disease. Regards, Fred Coe

      • James Steagall

        Thank you for the speedy reply,

        I’m looking forward to the results of the stone analysis tomorrow at my first follow up visit as he did collect samples during the procedure. I will reply with my stone analysis and 24 hour urine test results when available. It’s good to know that you suspect no new active stone formation has occurred based on the limited information I’ve provided.


      • James Steagall

        I feel very fortunate to have drawn by chance Dr Geoffrey Habermacher of UAB locally as my urologist on my second ER visit. He is not only an MD but also has a Ph.D in Cell and Molecular Biology and is an amazing young man that spent 17 years in college perfecting his craft. At my follow up he informed me my stone was 70% Calcium Oxalate Monohydrate, but I failed to ask about the remaining 30% which I will do in the near future. Now we wait for the results of the 24 hour urine test.


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