Nephrocalcinosis is a disorder in which there is too much calcium deposited in the kidneys. This condition is common in premature babies.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Any disorder that leads to high levels of calcium in the blood or urine may lead to nephrocalcinosis. In nephrocalcinosis, calcium deposits form in the kidney tissue itself. Most of the time, both kidneys are affected.
Nephrocalcinosis is related to, but not the same as, kidney stones (nephrolithiasis).
Conditions that can cause nephrocalcinosis include:
Other tests that may be done to diagnose and determine the severity of associated disorders include:
Blood tests to check levels of calcium, phosphate, uric acid, and parathyroid homrone
Urinalysis to see crystals and check for red blood cells
24-hour urine collection to measure acidity and levels of calcium, sodium, uric acid, oxalate, and citrate
The goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms and prevent more calcium from collecting in the kidneys.
Treatment will involve methods to reduce abnormal levels of calcium, phosphate, and oxalate in the blood and urine.
If you take medicine that causes calcium loss, your doctor will usually tell you to stop taking it. Never stop taking any medicine before talking to your doctor.
Other symptoms, included kidney stones, should be treated as appropriate.
What to expect depends on the complications and cause of the disorder.
Proper treatment may help prevent further deposits in the kidneys. However, there is usually no way to remove deposits that have already formed. Extensive deposits of calcium in the kidneys do NOT always mean severe damage to the kidneys.
Pietrow PK, Preminger GM. Evaluation and medical management of urinary lithiasis. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 43.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.