Kidney Stones Home > Kidney Stones Diagnosis

A kidney stones diagnosis is often based on a person's medical history, reported symptoms, and results of laboratory tests, including urine and blood tests. Common tests used in the diagnostic process include an x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, and an intravenous pyelogram. A 24-hour urine collection test may also be required as part of making a kidney stones diagnosis.

Kidney Stones Diagnosis: An Introduction

In order to diagnose a patient with kidney stones, doctors will typically:
  • Gather a complete medical history
  • Ask about the patient's occupation
  • Ask about the patient's eating habits
  • Order laboratory tests, which include urine and blood tests.
The laboratory should also analyze any stones that are removed from a patient because the composition of the stones may help with kidney stones treatment.

Tests Used When Making a Kidney Stones Diagnosis

Doctors use several tests or procedures when making a kidney stones diagnosis, including:
  • X-rays
  • Ultrasound (sonogram)
  • CT (computed tomography) scan
  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP).
X-Rays or Ultrasound
Sometimes, "silent" stones -- those that do not cause symptoms -- are found on x-rays that are taken during a general health exam. However, in most cases, kidney stones are found on an x-ray or sonogram that is taken on someone who complains of specific symptoms, such as blood in the urine or sudden pain. These diagnostic images can give the doctor valuable information about the stone's size and location. Blood and urine tests may also help detect any abnormal substance that might promote stone formation.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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