Clinician-scientists at Nationwide Children’s Hospital have uncovered a link between kidney stones in children and atherosclerosis, or hardened arteries, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease which is usually seen in adults. Ultrasound imaging revealed thicker arteries in children with recent stones compared to children without stones. Urine samples from the children with a history of stones revealed higher levels of biomarkers for inflammation, which could be a culprit in artery damage. More research is needed to discover how kidney stones cause artery damage and whether inflammation indeed plays a role. The investigators hope further study of urinary biomarkers will give them important information about different kinds of kidney stones, possible cardiovascular effects, and the mechanisms at work. That could lead to the discovery of a therapeutic target for kidney stones, as well as atherosclerosis. Their studies may one day allow physicians to identify children at risk and take early steps to protect their heart health.
Childhood Kidney Stones Associated with Atherosclerosis, Study Shows, EurekAlert, September 21, 2015