Data on susceptibility to kidney stone disease are sparse in individuals of nonEuropean ancestry residing in North America. We determined the relative risk of calcium nephrolithiasis among people of different ethnic backgrounds living in the same geographic region.
Using a cross-sectional design 1,128 consecutive patients with idiopathic calcium nephrolithiasis 18 to 50 years old were recruited from a population based Kidney Stone Center in Toronto. Age and gender adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated by logistic regression using the 2001 Canada Census population data.
Compared to Europeans the relative risk of calcium nephrolithiasis was significantly higher in individuals of Arabic (OR 3.8, 2.7-5.2), West Indian (OR 2.5, 1.8-3.4), West Asian (OR 2.4, 1.7-3.4) and Latin American (OR 1.7, 1.2-2.4) origin, and significantly lower in those of East Asian (OR 0.4, 0.3-0.5) and African (OR 0.7, 0.5-0.9) background. Several ethnic groups had kidney stone risk factors that were significantly different from those of the European group including higher urinary uric acid, urea excretion and estimated protein intake, and lower urinary citrate, potassium, magnesium and phosphate excretion. However, none was consistent with the variation in relative risk of stone disease overall.
The propensity for the development of calcium nephrolithiasis differed markedly among ethnic groups in North America. While environmental factors could not be completely ruled out, this variability may reflect the influence of genetic susceptibility because there was no dominant environmental factor to account for the differences in relative risk of stone disease.