Patients with kidney stones have a modestly elevated risk for stroke, especially ischemic stroke, according to the findings of a recent meta-analysis.

The meta-analysis, which examined data from 8 studies (7 cohort studies and 1 cross-sectional study) involving 3,526,808 participants, found that the presence of kidney stones, compared with their absence, was significantly associated with a 24% increased risk of stroke, Min Yuan, MD, of Jiangxi Provincial People’s Hospital in Jiangxi, China, and colleagues reported online ahead of print in Neurological Sciences.

Kidney stones were significantly associated with a 14% increased risk of ischemic stroke and a nonsignificant 7% increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke.

Continue Reading

When the investigators excluded studies with a high risk of bias from analysis, kidney stones were significantly associated with a 16% increased stroke risk. Kidney stones were significantly associated with an 18% increased stroke risk among individuals with a follow-up duration of 10 years or more. The investigators found no significant association between kidney stones and stroke risk among participants with a follow-up duration of less than 10 years.

“Our meta-analysis found a moderate association between kidney stones and the risk of stroke incidence after adjustment of established cardiovascular risk factors, especially in ischemic stroke,” the authors concluded.

The mechanisms by which kidney stones increase stroke risk remain unclear, Dr Yuan and colleagues noted. Previous studies have shown that kidney stones are associated with hypertension, obesity, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and smoking, all of which are known risk factors for stroke, they noted.

The investigators said their study has some important strengths compared with a previous meta-analysis. “To our knowledge, this article provides a more systematic explanation of the relationship between kidney stones and stroke risk. It also conducts stratifying analysis on some known influencing factors.” The authors acknowledged that the small number of studies included in their meta-analysis was a study limitation.


Yuan M, Zhou HY, Hu F, et al. Association between kidney stones and risk of developing stroke. Published online February 19, 2021. Neurol Sci. doi:10.1007/s10072-021-05113-5