Patient Care

Tamsulosin Can Be Used as Expulsive Therapy for Some Ureteric Stones


Clinical question: Is tamsulosin efficacious as an expulsive therapy for distal ureter stones ≤10 mm in diameter?

Background: Ureteric calculi are a common reason for hospital admission, and use of medical expulsive therapy during observation periods for small caliber stones has gained much attention recently. Specifically, tamsulosin has been suggested as a medical therapy for small stones.

Study design: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

Setting: Five EDs in Australia.

Synopsis: A total of 403 patients participated in the study, based on inclusion criteria of age older than 18 years with symptoms and CT evidence of ureteric stones Exclusion criteria included fever, glomerular filtration rate <60, and calculi >10 mm. Patients were randomized to placebo or 0.4 mg tamsulosin daily for 28 days. The outcome was stone expulsion demonstrated by absence of calculi on repeat CT. Stone passage in the entire group occurred in 87% of the tamsulosin arm and 81.9% of the placebo, with a 95% CI of -3.0% to 13%, which was not a significant difference with P=0.22.

Interestingly, in a subgroup analysis of larger stones 5–10 mm, 83% of tamsulosin subjects compared to 61% of placebo subjects had stone passage that was significant at a 22% difference and P=.03.

Limitations included compliance in both groups, applicability to other populations given study based in Australia, and the lack of follow-through with CT scan at 28 days in 17% of the original group, resulting in missing outcome data.

Bottom line: Patients with ureteric stones 5–10 mm in size demonstrate increased spontaneous stone expulsion with the addition of tamsulosin and should thus be offered this therapy.

Citation: Furyk J, Chu K, Banks C, et al. Distal ureteric stones and tamsulosin: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, multicenter trial. Ann Emerg Med. 2016;67(1):86-95.e2.

Short Take

Low Diagnostic Yield of Blood Cultures in Hospitalized Medical Patients

Prospective cohort study of patients hospitalized on a medical service demonstrated a true positive rate of blood cultures that was lower than previously studied. Using objective clinical predictors may improve likelihood of true positive blood cultures.

Citation: Linsenmeyer K, Gupta K, Strymish JM, Dhanani M, Brecher SM, Breu AC. Culture if spikes? Indications and yield of blood cultures in hospitalized medical patients [published online ahead of print January 13, 2016]. J Hosp Med. doi:10.1002/jhm.2541.

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