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Sensitivity of Digital Abdominal Radiography for the Detection of Ureter Stones by Stone Size and Location

Jung, Sung II MD*; Kim, Young Jun MD*; Park, Hee Sun MD*; Jeon, Hae Jeong MD*; Park, Hyoung Keun MD; Paick, Sung Hyun MD; Kim, Hyeong Gon MD; Lho, Yong Soo MD

Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography: November-December 2010 - Volume 34 - Issue 6 - p 879-882
doi: 10.1097/RCT.0b013e3181ec7e07
Abdominal Imaging

Objective: To assess the sensitivity of digital abdominal radiography in the detection of ureteral stones by stone size and location.

Materials and Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the digital abdominal radiography of 163 patients for the detection of ureteral stones. Each ureteral stone was confirmed by unenhanced computed tomography (CT) in the emergency department between January and December, 2009. Stone location was defined as proximal or distal by the level where the ureter crossed anterior to iliac vessels, and the stone size was defined as small if smaller than 5 mm and large if larger than 5 mm on unenhanced CT. The interpretation of digital abdominal radiography was classified as visible, invisible, or equivocal.

Results: In 163 ureteral stones, 77 stones (47.2%) were in the proximal ureter and 86 stones (52.8%) were in the distal ureter. The mean (SD) size of the ureteral stones was 3.4 (1.7) mm (range, 1-9 mm). Overall sensitivity of digital radiography for ureteral stones was 29.4%. The sensitivity of digital radiography for the proximal ureteral stones was 37.7% and that for the distal ureteral stones was 22.1% (P < 0.05). The sensitivity of digital radiography for small ureteral stones was 23.6% and that for large ureteral stones was 50.0% (P < 0.05). As a group, the sensitivity of digital radiography for large proximal ureteral stones was the highest sensitivity-72.2%-in all groups (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: Digital abdominal radiography is useful in detecting large proximal ureteral stones.

From the *Departments of Radiology, and †Urology, Konkuk University Medical Center, Research Institute of Medical Science, Konkuk University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

Received for publication April 20, 2010; accepted June 7, 2010.

Reprints: Sung II Jung, MD, Department of Radiology, Konkuk University Medical Center, Konkuk University School of Medicine, 4-12 Hwayang-dong, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul 143-729, Korea (e-mail:

This work was supported by Konkuk University in 2010.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.