Complications of shock wave lithotripsy

Mitra R. De Cógáin, Amy Krambeck

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Shockwave lithotripsy (SWL) was introduced to clinical urologic practice in the 1980s with Dornier's HM3 lithotripter and has become a common first-line treatment modality for urolithiasis (Chaussy et al., J Urol 127:417-20, 1982). Initial SWL results were promising, and since that time, SWL has become the most commonly performed treatment for renal and ureteral stones (Chaussy and Fuchs, J Urol 92:339-43, 1986; Pearle, J Urol 173:848-57, 2005). As SWL is a noninvasive therapeutic modality, it initially was perceived as harmless to the kidney and surrounding organs (Chaussy and Fuchs, J Urol 92:339-43, 1986). However, multiple studies since that early experience have suggested or demonstrated deleterious effects of the repetitive shock waves required for successful stone fragmentation. These include acute injury to the kidney and other adjacent structures including the pancreas, colon, liver, spleen, pleura, and large blood vessels (McAteer and Evan, Semin Nephrol 28:200-13, 2008). Although SWL is generally well tolerated, it is imperative for practicing clinicians to be aware of the potential complications of this procedure. Current SWL requires the appropriate selection of a limited number of parameters for each patient, including number of shocks delivered, shock rate, and power. However, safe application of SWL therapy must include appropriate patient selection with attention to comorbid medical conditions, stone location, size, and composition. Some complications may arise only in patients or stones that are inappropriately selected for SWL therapy. This chapter focuses on the possible complications of SWL, as well as techniques to optimize patient outcomes, while decreasing the risk for complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSurgical Management of Urolithiasis: Percutaneous, Shockwave and Ureteroscopy
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781461469377
ISBN (Print)1461469368, 9781461469360
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Complications of shock wave lithotripsy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this