Purpose: We compared the efficacy of shock wave lithotripsy and ureteroscopy for treatment of distal ureteral calculi. Materials and Methods: A total of 64 patients with solitary, radiopaque distal ureteral calculi 15 mm. or less in largest diameter were randomized to treatment with shock wave lithotripsy (32) using an HM3 lithotriptor (Dornier MedTech, Kennesaw, Georgia) or ureteroscopy (32). Patient and stone characteristics, treatment parameters, clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction and cost were assessed for each group. Results: The 2 groups were comparable in regard to patient age, sex, body mass index, stone size, degree of hydronephrosis and time to treatment. Procedural and operating room times were statistically significantly shorter for the shock wave lithotripsy compared to the ureteroscopy group (34 and 72 versus 65 and 97 minutes, respectively). In addition, 94% of patients who underwent shock wave lithotripsy versus 75% who underwent ureteroscopy were discharged home the day of procedure. At a mean followup of 21 and 24 days for shock wave lithotripsy and ureteroscopy, respectively, 91% of patients in each group had undergone imaging with a plain abdominal radiograph, and all studies showed resolution of the target stone. Minor complications occurred in 9% and 25% of the shock wave lithotripsy and ureteroscopy groups, respectively (p value was not significant). No ureteral perforation or stricture occurred in the ureteroscopy group. Postoperative flank pain and dysuria were more severe in the ureteroscopy than shock wave lithotripsy group, although the differences were not statistically significant. Patient satisfaction was high, including 94% for shock wave lithotripsy and 87% for ureteroscopy (p value not significant). Cost favored ureteroscopy by $1,255 if outpatient treatment for both modalities was assumed. Conclusions: Ureteroscopy and shock wave lithotripsy were associated with high success and low complication rates. However, shock wave lithotripsy required significantly less operating time, was more often performed on an outpatient basis, and showed a trend towards less flank pain and dysuria, fewer complications and quicker convalescence. Patient satisfaction was uniformly high in both groups. Although ureteroscopy and shock wave lithotripsy are highly effective for treatment of distal ureteral stones, we believe that HM3 shock wave lithotripsy, albeit slightly more costly, is preferable to manipulation with ureteroscopy since it is equally efficacious, more efficient and less morbid.
- Ureteral calculi