The prevalence of nephrocalcinosis (NC) in preterm neonates in recent reports is 7-41%. The wide range in prevalence is a consequence of different study populations and ultrasound equipment and criteria, in addition to a moderate interobserver variation. NC in preterm neonates has a multifactorial aetiology, consisting of low gestational age and birth weight, often in combination with severe respiratory disease, and occurs as a result of an imbalance between stone-promoting and stoneinhibiting factors. A limited number of histological studies suggest that calcium oxalate crystals play an important role in NC in premature neonates. In 85% of children resolution of NC occurs in the first years of life. Prematurity, per se, is associated with high blood pressure, relatively small kidneys, and (distal) tubular dysfunction. In addition, NC in preterm neonates can have long-term sequelae for glomerular and tubular function. Long-term follow-up of blood pressure and renal function of prematurely born children, especially with neonatal NC, is recommended. Prevention of NC with (low) oral doses of citrate has not resulted in a significant decrease in the prevalence of NC; a higher citrate dosage deserves further study. Future research pertaining to prevention of NC in preterm neonates is crucial.

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Pediatric Nephrology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Schell-Feith, E., Kist-Van Holthe, J., & van der Heijden, B. (2010). Nephrocalcinosis in preterm neonates. Pediatric Nephrology (Vol. 25, pp. 221–230). doi:10.1007/s00467-008-0908-9