We are raising money this hour for a Nephroscope for the Urology Department – crucial equipment that will allow surgeons to remove large stones from children’s kidneys right here at the ACH.
Kidney stones are hard concretions of the minerals and other elements normally found in urine. The stone typically forms in the kidney before it passes down the tubes connecting the kidney to the bladder. Kidney stones form in size from a fraction of an inch to several inches, with most around ¼ – ½ inch in size.
In children, kidney stones can be a result of:
- Specific inherited problem
- Blockage of urine flow
- Kidney infection
When a stone is discovered, the initial goal is to help the child “flush it out” by drinking large amounts of water. With small stones, surgeons put the child to sleep and then in a simple procedure, they go in through the ureter to grab the stones. Stones larger than a ½ inch often require surgery to remove them. This is done through a small incision using a Nephroscope to send sound waves into the kidney to break the stone into much smaller pieces that can then grabbed and pulled out by the same instrument.
The Alberta Children’s Hospital doesn’t have a Nephroscope so currently, when a child presents with larger kidney stones, they check in at this hospital, are transported to the Rocky View General Hospital where they receive the 45 minute surgery using an adult-sized Nephroscope, and then transported back to the ACH, where recover can be 3-4 days.
Having a Nephroscope at the ACH designed specifically for children will mean that they can have the surgery here, with the full benefit of a child-friendly environment during their recovery – which is most-likely shorter due to smaller incisions. Other benefits are less blood loss, less risk of infection, less exposure to general anesthetic, and less need for IV antibiotics following surgery.