(HealthDay News) — Delaying surgery for nephrolithiasis can increase the risk of complications, raising health care costs, a new study finds. The findings were scheduled to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA), held from May 15–19 in New Orleans.
Researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas looked at 795 people who had surgery for nephrolithiasis over two years. The median time – meaning half delayed longer, half less – from diagnosis to surgery was 79 days.
Patients who had surgery more than 45 days after diagnosis were about 15 times more likely to have an unplanned clinic visit, almost six times more likely to have additional medical imaging tests, and about five times more likely to require antibiotics, compared with those who had surgery sooner. Between diagnosis and surgery, more than half of patients had unplanned emergency department or clinic visits, including 11% who required hospitalization, the findings showed.
“These data underscore the importance of prompt attention and treatment of patients presenting with kidney stones,” Howard Adler, MD, associate professor of urology at Stony Brook University in New York, said in an AUA news release. Adler was scheduled to moderate a press conference on the findings Saturday at the meeting. “Delay in treatment not only complicates cases, but impacts the quality of patient care and boosts health care costs,” he added.