Indian Journal of Urology
: 2006  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 135--138

Does the type of steinstrasse predict the outcome of expectant therapy?

Rajiv Goyal, Deepak Dubey, Naval Khurana, Anil Mandhani, MS Ansari, Aneesh Srivastava, Rakesh Kapoor, Anant Kumar 
 Departments of Urology and Renal Transplant, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, India

Correspondence Address:
Anil Mandhani
Department of Urology and Renal Transplant, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow - 226 014, UP


OBJECTIVES: To determine the outcome of expectant therapy in steinstrasse according to its type. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A chart review was performed on patients who underwent extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) between 1995 and June 2004. Demographic profile, stone size, site, characteristics of steinstrasse (type 1; multiple small fragments, type 2; lead fragment of 5 mm or more with small fragments proximal to it and type 3; multiple fragments of 5 mm or more) and mode of treatment used, were noted. Patients of steinstrasse, diagnosed on X-Ray KUB were kept on expectant treatment for 4 weeks. Patients with high grade fever and infected hydronephrosis were treated with percutaneous nephrostomy (PCN) insertion. Non responders at 4 weeks, were treated with SWL and/or ureterorenoscopy (URS). RESULTS: 1000 patients of mean age 37.85 years, with urinary stones, received SWL (827 renal stones and 173 ureteric stones). Sixty patients (6%) developed steinstrasse. Mean stone size was 2.03 cm (0.6-4 cm). Type 1, 2 and 3 steinstrasse was present in 32 (53%), 20 (33%) and 8 (13%) patients, respectively. Conservative management was successful in 30 (50%) patients at 4 weeks. 3 patients who presented with infected hydronephrosis, required PCN. The remaining (27 patients) were subjected to repeat SWL. 24 of these 27 patients could be successfully treated with SWL, whereas the remaining 3 required URS. Of non- responders to conservative treatment i.e., 30 patients, 17 (56%) and 8 (26%) patients had type 2 and 3 steinstrasse respectively, whereas only 3 out of 30 (10%) responders had type 2 and none of the responders had type 3 steinstrasse, P value < 0.01. CONCLUSION: Type 2 and 3 steinstrasse have 90% (25 out of 28 failed) chance of not responding to the conservative treatment at 4 weeks. To avoid the risk of infected hydronephrosis (5%), active intervention should be done in patients with lead fragment of 5 mm or more (type 2 and 3 steinstrasse), as early as possible. SWL is successful in most of these patients and should be the primary modality of treatment.

How to cite this article:
Goyal R, Dubey D, Khurana N, Mandhani A, Ansari M S, Srivastava A, Kapoor R, Kumar A. Does the type of steinstrasse predict the outcome of expectant therapy?.Indian J Urol 2006;22:135-138

How to cite this URL:
Goyal R, Dubey D, Khurana N, Mandhani A, Ansari M S, Srivastava A, Kapoor R, Kumar A. Does the type of steinstrasse predict the outcome of expectant therapy?. Indian J Urol [serial online] 2006 [cited 2020 Nov 25 ];22:135-138
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Full Text

Steinstrasse is a well-recognized complication of SWL.[1] Several factors are responsible for steinstrasse formation, including stone size, site, composition and power used for disintegration.[2],[3],[4],[5] It is usually transient and asymptomatic. However, steinstrasse may become static and cause partial or complete obstruction.[6] These patients present with loin pain, obstruction or infection. A sizable number of patients respond to conservative treatment, while non-responders require active intervention in form of repeat SWL, URS and PCN. We present our experience with the management of steinstrasse after extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) and its outcome to expectant therapy according to its type.

 Materials and Methods

1000 patients were subjected to SWL for urinary stones form January 1995 to June 2004. Renal stones were encountered in 827 patients and ureteric stones in 173. All patients were treated with Dornier Compact S lithotripter, as outpatients. Pre-procedural evaluation included urine culture, renal functions and intravenous urogram (IVU). Intravenous sedation was used for adults, whereas children below 14 years (27 patients) were treated under general anesthesia. Sixty patients (6%) developed steinstrasse. The mean age was 37.85 9.93 years (range 8-65), 48 being males and 12 were females, including one child. After initial SWL, all patients received antibiotics and analgesics for 3-5 days. They were instructed to filter the urine and were followed fortnightly for 3 months with X-ray KUB or were asked to report in between if symptomatic.

Patients who developed steinstrasse in follow-up were included in this study and were grouped into 3 groups according to the type of steinstrasse formed.[1] Steinstrasse has been divided into 3 types: type 1; multiple small fragments, type 2; lead fragment of 5 mm or more with small fragments proximal to it and type 3; multiple fragments of 5 mm or more.[1] These were given night dose suppressive antibiotic and as per the departmental policy, were called weekly with X- ray KUB till 4 weeks of expectant therapy. In between, if patients presented with infected hydronephrosis, percutaneous nephrostomy was placed. Patients who failed to pass the fragments spontaneously during this 4 week conservative period, were treated with SWL. Power of disintegration was kept at 4-5 KV and shock waves were given at a frequency of 60-90 shocks per minute. 2 sessions of SWL were given. SWL was aimed at disintegration of the lead fragment and mechanically loosening the small fragments above it. Fluoroscopic localization of stones was done in all patients. Those having residual fragments after 2 sessions of shock wave lithotripsy, were treated with ureterorenoscopic (URS) disintegration.

SPSS-10 software was used, statistical analysis was done using non- parametric Mann Whitney test and a P value of less than 0.05 was considered as significant.


Sixty patients (59 adults, 1 child) developed steinstrasse with a mean age of 37.85 years and mean stone size of 2.03 cm (0.6-4 cm). The incidence of steinstrasse increased with stone size [Table 1]. In 5 patients with stone size greater than 3 cm who developed steinstrasse, three had a stent in situ before lithotripsy. Incidence of steinstrasse also varied with the location of the stone in the pelvicalyceal system [Table 2]. The most common site of steinstrasse was the distal one- third of the ureter in 32 patients (53%), followed by the upper one-third in 20 (33%). Radiologically, 32 (53.3%) patients had type 1 [Figure 1], 20 (33.3%) patients type 2 [Figure 2] and 8 (13.3%) patients had type 3 [Figure 3] steinstrasse. The length of the ureter containing steinstrasse varied from 1 cm to 9 cm. Most of the symptomatic patients presented with flank pain, while others had nausea, vomiting, fever and bladder irritation. Twelve (20%) patients were asymptomatic. Expectant treatment was successful in 30 (50%) patients. Percutaneous nephrostomy was needed in 3 (5%) patients who presented with pain and fever. Of these 3 patients, 2 passed their stones spontaneously, while one patient required ureteroscopy for stone removal, once the infection was controlled. The remaining 27 patients who did not respond to expectant therapy, were treated successfully with SWL. 3 (11%) patients who failed SWL, required ureteroscopic stone removal. 3 out of 30 (10%) patients who responded to expectant therapy and 25 out of 30 (83%) who did not respond to expectant therapy, had type 2 and type 3 steinstrasse ( P value2-2.5 cm), solitary functioning kidneys, long-standing hydronephrosis, struvite stone or with known urinary infection prior to treatment.[16] We used stent only in patients with stones greater than 3 cm in size or those having post PCNL residue.

Lastly we recommend a simple algorithm to treat the patients with steinstrasse [Figure 4].


Most of the patients with steinstrasse, with lead fragment lesser than 5 mm can be managed conservatively. PCN should be done when there is obstruction, infection or renal damage. SWL should be given as early as possible for type 2 and 3 steinstrasse, as there is only 11% chance of success to expectant treatment at 4 weeks. Ureteroscopy should be reserved for non-responders to SWL.


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