For a study, researchers sought to analyze the clinical course and results for patients who had symptomatic urolithiasis in the early COVID-19 pandemic months.

They compared the prior year’s presentations for the same time period with retrospective reviews of Emergency Department (ED) presentations from a Philadelphia healthcare system for symptomatic urolithiasis between March and June 2020. Clinical outcomes, management, and patient demographics were compared between the two years.

In contrast to 269 cases in 2019, 139 patients presented in 2020. Patients with obesity (37.41% vs. 49.44%, P=.024), hyperlipidemia (18.71% vs. 31.60, P=.006), and asthma (5.76% vs. 16.73%, P=.002) were less likely to appear during the start of COVID-19 pandemic spike. Although the 2 groups’ average stone features were similar, more patients in 2020 presented with an obstructed stone (81.16% vs. 64.1%, P=.001). There was no increase in infection, acute renal damage, or complication rates among patients who sought treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic. The rates of emergency procedures, surgical modalities, and ED discharges were comparable across the 2 years.

Fewer patients with symptomatic urolithiasis presented to the emergency department (ED) due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s first spike, but those who did were likely to have blocking stones, possibly due to postponing presentation to prevent COVID-19 exposure in the ED. Although blockage rates were greater, clinical outcomes and morbidity were comparable.