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DefinitionNephrocalcinosis is a kidney disorder involving deposition of calcium and oxalate or phosphate in the renal tubules and interstitium (the areas between the tubules). These deposits may result in reduced kidney function.
Causes, incidence, and risk factorsNephrocalcinosis may be caused by a number of conditions:
Fragments of calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate may break free from the kidney and provide nuclei for formation of stones ( nephrolithiasis ). This may result in obstructive uropathy , possibly leading to eventual kidney failure if the obstructing stones are not passed in the urine or removed. Nephrocalcinosis may therefore be discovered when symptoms of renal insufficiency / renal failure , obstructive uropathy, or urinary tract stones develop.
This condition is relatively common in premature infants, partly from intrinsic kidney calcium losses and partly from enhanced calcium excretion when they are given loop diuretics.
SymptomsThere are generally no early symptoms. Later symptoms related to nephrocalcinosis and associated disorders may include the following:
Signs and testsAn examination but may indicate disorders that occur as a consequence of nephrocalcinosis. There may be signs of fluid overload, such as abnormal heart and lung sounds, if kidney function is poor.
Other tests may be performed to diagnose and determine the extent of associated disorders.
The goal of treatment is reduction of symptoms. The cause of the disorder must be treated. If the cause is type 1 renal tubular acidosis , vitamin D and calcium should not be given to correct bone disorders associated with the condition because this will worsen nephrocalcinosis.
Medications that enhance calcium excretion should be discontinued. Never discontinue any medications without consulting your health care provider.
Conditions that result from the disorder should be treated in their usual manner.
Expectations (prognosis)The outcome varies depending on the extent of complications and the cause of the disorder.
Calling your health care providerCall your health care provider if symptoms indicate that disorders associated with nephrocalcinosis may be present.
Emergency symptoms include suddenly decreased urine output , and decreased consciousness related to calcium levels and/or kidney failure.
PreventionPrompt treatment of causative disorders, including renal tubular acidosis , may help prevent nephrocalcinosis.
Update Date: 10/17/2003Irfan A. Agha, M.D., Department of Medicine, Renal Division, St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT