Pediatric Stone Center
Diagnosis and Testing

Diagnosis and Testing

There are many factors to consider when assessing a child who has formed a urinary tract stone. Factors include genetics, environment, diet, body weight and fluid intake. For example, more than 35 percent of people with kidney stones who have high urine calcium also have an inherited disease.

If your child has symptoms of kidney stones, an evaluation of your child will include a personal history and physical, and a family history.

Additional evaluation includes radiology, metabolic, genetic and dietary testing.

Our radiology team is part of a group of organizations participating in the Image Gently initiative, launched in 2008, to raise awareness about methods to reduce radiation dose during pediatric medical imaging exams.

If a urinary tract stone is suspected in your child, the physician will order radiologic testing to confirm the presence of a stone.  Some types of radiologic testing that may be ordered include:

Renal Ultrasound

The most common radiologic test used to diagnose a urinary tract stone is the renal ultrasound. The technician uses a hand-held device known as a transducer. This is a painless test using sound waves to take pictures of the kidneys, ureters and bladder.  The images created may show the location of any stone(s).

Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan

X-ray technology is used to create three-dimensional (3-D) pictures of sections of the body to determine the location(s) of the stones(s).  The CT scan requires the child to lie flat on a table that slides into a doughnut-shaped device.  The CT scan may require the injection of contrast dye to aid in the location of the stone(s). The lowest amount of radiation exposure will be used to provide the necessary diagnosis.

KUB (Kidney, Ureter, Bladder)

A quick, simple X-ray uses external radiation to assess your child’s abdomen and view the urinary tract and the presence of any stone(s).

Various urine tests such as a urine analysis and urine culture can be used to check for the presence of a urinary tract infection.  Other tests such as a 24-hour urine collection can check for the presence of material / substances that can form stones.  Our nephrologist will do a thorough evaluation and may order additional metabolic and blood tests based on your child’s history and physical examination.

Our geneticist may order blood tests to determine if your child or your child’s biological family has a genetic predisposition for stone disease.

Diet may be one factor that can be linked to stone formation.  It has been shown that high urine concentrations of various elements such as calcium, phosphorous and oxylate can lead to kidney stones.  In children who are susceptible, certain foods may increase the likelihood of stone formation.

Based on your child’s testing and stone analysis, your child may be referred to a dietitian for a dietary consultation. A dietitian will evaluate your child's daily intake of calcium, vitamin D, fruits, vegetables, salt and protein to determine if your child's diet is related to his or her stone formation.