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myStone: a real time kidney stone classification

Kidney stones after ESWL intervention. Lithotripsy. Macro shot

Quickness, accuracy and a lower price are the main advantages of myStone, a device made to classify kidney stones and support urologists. 

It is a fact that around 12% population suffer from kidney stones at some point in their lives and it is known that this rate is increasing globally. These stones are formed by substances such as calcium or oxalate and they may be presented in different sizes, shapes, colours and textures depending on their chemical components. It implies the existence of different classes of stones that must be treated differently. Therefore, a good classification of each variety is essential for urologists to determine proper dietetic recommendations.

Owing to that, Joan Serrat and Felipe Lumbreras researchers at CVC and professors at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) along with Francisco Blanco, Manuel Valiente and Montserrat López-Mesas from Research Group of Separation Techniques in Chemistry (also UAB), have developed myStone, a first approach to automate the visual classification of urinary calculi. According to their paper myStone: A system for automatic kidney stone classification, this device and software captures images of expelled stones and automatically classifies them according to their components.

Joan Serrat

Kidney stones disease is highly recurrent. Once a person has produced a stone, the likelihood of reappearance is at least 40% at five years. But knowing the exact type of stone allows urologists to provide suitable diet recommendations for each patient and, consequently, reduce the probability of a new episode.

Visual classification by an expert and IR spectroscopy analysis are the most common procedures to classify kidney stones. However, they share the problem of having a certain cost, requiring experts and a certain processing time. As a consequence, sometimes the analysis may not be performed and the patient does not receive a recommendation oriented towards reducing the chances of suffering a new episode.

On the contrary, CVC developed myStone prototype can classify the type of kidney stone in just a few minutes. The process is simple: the urologist introduces a fragment of the stone into the device which then takes a picture of both internal and external sides. After this, the software instantly generates a report with a graphic determining the probabilities of each stone class along with personalized diet recommendations.

This device is thought to be used in consulting rooms and thus help urologists to analyse kidney stones. Furthermore, not only would it reduce the cost and waiting time but also decrease doctor visits, meaning a better medical efficiency, considering that a 6,6% of emergency room visits in Spain come from kidney stones according to La Vanguardia.

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Nuria Martínez

The author Nuria Martínez