The use of shock waves to pulverise kidney stones into sand-like material significantly increases the risk for diabetes and high blood pressure later in life, according to the longest follow-up study (published from the Mayo Clinic) of the popular therapy.
In the study, patients who underwent the pulverising procedure, known as lithotripsy, developed diabetes at almost four times the rate of those whose kidney stones were treated by other methods.
The lithotripsy group also developed high blood pressure about 50 per cent more often than a group treated by other methods, the study in The Journal of Urology found.
The Mayo Clinic says its researchers are “sounding an alert about the side effects of shock wave lithotripsy” and that the findings are “completely new”.
For now, the researchers hypothesise that shockwave therapy for kidney stones increases the risk for diabetes by damaging the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, a gland through which the shock waves may pass.