Calcium oxalate nephrolithiasis, a free or fixed particle disease

Dirk J. Kok, Saeed R. Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

243 Scopus citations


The chances of stone formation occurring through a free particle mechanism were calculated using the approach of Finlayson and Reid. For these calculations we used new data on nephron dimensions, supersaturation and crystal growth rates in urine, and also incorporated the size increasing effect of crystal agglomeration. The calculations were performed assuming different levels of oxalate excretion, simulating the diurnal variation and acute hyperoxaluria following a dietary load. In addition urinary flow conditions were varied according to changes in daily urinary volume. It is shown that during the normal transit time of urine through the nephron, particles can obtain a size big enough to be retained in the nephron. This is mainly due to the size-increasing effect of the agglomeration process. The precipitable amount of oxalate present is not limiting for the maximum attainable particle size. However, acute increases in oxalate excretion do pose a risk because supersaturation is reached earlier in the nephron and consequently the crystal particles are allowed more time to increase in size. In conclusion, the present calculations demonstrate that during the normal transit time through the kidney, crystalline particles can be formed which are large enough to be retained because of their size and thus form the nidus of a stone. The highest risk is encountered at the end of those collecting ducts where crystals formed in nephrons with a long loop of Henle meet and agglomerate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)847-854
Number of pages8
JournalKidney International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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