Chronic pain in medullary sponge kidney: a rare and never described clinical presentation

Giovanni Gambaro, D. S. Goldfarb, Rocco Baccaro, J. Hirsch, N. Topilow, Silvia D'Alonzo, Giovanni Gambassi, Pietro Manuel Ferraro*

*Corresponding author

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


Medullary sponge kidney (MSK) is a cause of nephrocalcinosis, associated with hematuria, renal colic, pyelonephritis. There are rare and atypical MSK cases characterized by chronic severe pain (CP), whose features are unknown, in particular the relationship with the stone disease activity. This study analyzes a cohort of MSK–CP patients belonging to three North-America self-support Facebook groups. Patients had to self-administer an on-line questionnaire (on intensity, progression and MSK-associated conditions, stone-related disease, pain features, drug use), the Brief Pain Inventory, the Fatigue Severity Score, and Wisconsin Quality of Life (WQL) in stone formers questionnaires. Ninety-two patients with a diagnosis of MSK joined our survey. Stone rate was very high (3.1 stones per patient-year, < 15% of patients had ≤ 1 stone per year). Most patients had repeated hospitalizations for stones symptoms (p < 0.001) or pain (p < 0.005). 71% of participants referred a daily pain that interfered strongly with everyday life and quality of life (WQL mean value 29.4). 69% used pain medications daily (70% opioids). In most cases, pain was associated with stone passage, while 15% referred a sine materia pain. We showed how MSK–CP symptoms affect very negatively on the quality of life of these patients. They also have a definite risk of progressing to end-stage kidney disease. Generally, CP seems to be associated with an exceptionally high lithogenic activity, suggesting that a better and earlier metabolic treatment for stone prevention should be the first approach in these patients before mini-invasive treatments to prevent pain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-542
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Medullary sponge kidney
  • Nephrolitiasis
  • Nephrology
  • Pain
  • Renal colic
  • Renal stones


Dive into the research topics of 'Chronic pain in medullary sponge kidney: a rare and never described clinical presentation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this