African Journal of Paediatric Surgery About APSON | PAPSA  
Home About us Editorial Board Current issue Search Archives Ahead Of Print Subscribe Instructions Submission Contact Login 
Users Online: 600Print this page  Email this page Bookmark this page Small font size Default font size Increase font size 

ORIGINAL ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 32-35
Forgotten/retained double J ureteric stents: A source of severe morbidity in children

1 Department of Urology, KLES Kidney Foundation, KLE University's JN Medical College, KLES Dr. Prabhakar Kore Hospital and MRC, Belgaum, Karnataka, India
2 PG Department of Studies in Biotechnology and Microbiology, Karnatak University, Dharwad, Karnataka, India

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Web Publication3-May-2016


Background: The increase in the usage of double J (DJ) ureteral stents in the management of a variety of urinary tract disease processes mandates familiarity with these devices, their consequences and their potential complications, which at times can be devastating. We retrospectively reviewed our series of children with forgotten/retained DJ ureteric stents. Materials and Methods: Hospital records of all patients' <18 years old who underwent removal of forgotten/retained DJ ureteral stent at our hospital were reviewed for age, gender, indication for insertion of DJ stent, duration of stent insertion, radiological images and surgical procedures performed. Results: During the study period, January 2000 to December 2014 (a 15-year period), a total of 14 children underwent removal of forgotten/retained DJ ureteral stent. A combination of extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, cystolitholapaxy and percutaneous nephrolithotomy was done to free the DJ stent and extract it. Conclusions: Forgotten/retained stents in children are a source of severe morbidity, additional/unnecessary hospitalisation and definitely financial strain.

Keywords: Double J stents, postoperative complications, risk management, ureter

How to cite this article:
Nerli RB, Magdum PV, Sharma V, Guntaka AK, Hiremath MB, Ghagane S. Forgotten/retained double J ureteric stents: A source of severe morbidity in children. Afr J Paediatr Surg 2016;13:32-5

How to cite this URL:
Nerli RB, Magdum PV, Sharma V, Guntaka AK, Hiremath MB, Ghagane S. Forgotten/retained double J ureteric stents: A source of severe morbidity in children. Afr J Paediatr Surg [serial online] 2016 [cited 2023 Feb 2];13:32-5. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Since their introduction into clinical use, double J (DJ) ureteral stents have been widely used in urological practice. [1] DJ ureteral stents have been used to establish or improve drainage in cases of extrinsic or intrinsic obstruction of urinary passage. They have also been placed after iatrogenic injuries to the ureter and prophylactically in complex urinary tract reconstructive surgeries. [2] Over the September 10, 2015 decades, technological improvements in stent design and stent biomaterials have greatly minimised patient discomfort. As a result, DJ stents have been left in place for a longer duration of time, and it is possible that the patient and the treating physician may forget their presence. These forgotten or retained ureteral stents could lead to various complications such as stent migration, stent occlusion, breakage, encrustation and stone formation. [3],[4] In spite of improved design and biomaterial used, encrustation remains one of the most important side effects. Encrustations [Figure 1] are most frequently noted in forgotten/retained DJ's, which remain indwelling for a long period of time. El-Faqih et al. [5] reported encrustation rate of 9.2% if the DJ was kept for <6 weeks; however, encrustation rate rose to 76.3% if the DJ was left in place for up to 12 weeks. Several urologic procedures are often necessary so as to remove the severely encrusted DJ stent. The methodology depends on the clinical status and often comprises extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), ureteroscopy, cystolithotripsy and even percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL). [6],[7] We report our experience in the management of retained/forgotten DJ stents in children.
Figure 1: Retrieved double J stent showing severe encrustation

Click here to view

   Materials and Methods Top

Hospital records of all patients <18 years old who underwent removal of forgotten/retained DJ ureteral stent at our hospital were reviewed following the permission obtained from hospital/University Ethical Committee. Age, gender, indication for insertion of DJ stent, duration of stent insertion, radiological images and surgical procedures performed to extract the DJ stents were noted. Post-operative stay, complications of the procedures and morbidity were also recorded.

   Results Top

During the study period, January 2000 to December 2014 (a 15-year period), five children from our own series and nine referred from other centres underwent removal of forgotten/retained DJ ureteral stent. The mean age of the children was 12.46 (median 14 ± 4.44) years and included 8 boys and 6 girls. The indication for insertion of DJ stents was as shown in [Table 1].
Table 1: Indications and duration of the indwelling DJ stent

Click here to view

Six children had urolithiasis and had undergone DJ stenting prior to ESWL (2), post-ureteroscopy (3) and post-PCNL (1). Two of these children had delayed the removal of their DJ stent as they were school going and waited for the next holidays to undergo the procedure. Four other children with urolithiasis underwent their treatment under government sponsored schemes and had to wait for approval for DJ stent removal (again under government sponsored schemes). During this waiting period, the DJ stent was left indwelling for a period of 3-15 months. Plain X-ray kidney, ureter and bladder region revealed encrustation only in three children, vesical calculi around the lower end of DJ stent in one [Figure 2] and both vesical and renal calculi around the two ends of DJ stent in two. A combination of ESWL, cystolitholapaxy and PCNL was done to free the DJ stent and extract it.
Figure 2: (a) Plain X-ray kidney, ureter and bladder showing downwards migration of stent with vesical stone formed around the lower end of double J stent. (b) Retrieved double J stent by percutaneous cystolitholapaxy showing stone at the lower end of double J stent

Click here to view

Eight other children had an insertion of DJ stent following Anderson Hynes's pyeloplasty for ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction (5), ureteric reimplantation for vesicoureteral reflux (2) and ileal conduit for urinary diversion (1). Five children underwent pyeloplasty for UPJ obstruction, the youngest being 3 months of age at the time of surgery. In three children, upwards migration of the stent was noticed at around 12 weeks after surgery. In two of these three children, it was possible to extract the DJ stent by performing ureteroscopy and holding the DJ with 3 Fr tripong forceps. In one infant, the DJ stent had migrated completely into [Figure 3] the renal collecting system, and percutaneous surgery was performed to extract the stent. Two other children who had undergone pyeloplasty had retained/forgotten stents of more than 10 months duration. Small vesical calculi with encrustation of the upper end of DJ were noticed in both. A combination of ESWL/cystolitholapaxy was necessary to remove the DJ stents.
Figure 3: (a) Plain X-ray kidney, ureter and bladder showing complete retrograde migration of double J stent. (b) Retrograde pyelogram showing the double J stent in dilated pelvicalyceal system. (c) Percutaneous surgery in progress. (d) Retrieved double J stent

Click here to view

Two children who had undergone ureteric reimplantation and one child with exstrophy bladder who had undergone ileal conduit had developed calculi over the lower end of the DJ stent. The calculi were fragmented, and the DJ stents were extracted. During the post-DJ stent removal period, three children had fever. All these children needed additional hospitalisation and use of antibiotics for a minimum of 7-10 days.

The additional hospitalisation period ranged between 4 and 8 days (median 5 ± 1.69 days). During the hospitalisation, the financial burden ranged between rupees 34,900 (US $ 581.66) and 96,300 (US$ 1,605) (median rupees 74,640 ± 21,554).

   Discussion Top

Zimskind et al. in 1967 [8] first reported the use of DJ ureteral catheter and since then has become one of the most commonly used treatment modalities for internal drainage after endourological/reconstructive procedures. Although the use of DJ stents has been a proven and effective method in a number of clinical situations, one should always keep in mind the associated complications of an indwelling DJ stent. Complications include retrograde migration, breakage, encrustations, stone formation and occlusion. A forgotten/retained ureteral DJ stent usually results in encrustations or stone formations. The rate of encrustation increases as the indwelling duration is prolonged. [5] The composition and the risk factors of encrustations have been studied extensively. Calcium oxalate (43.8%), especially in its monohydrate form, constitutes most of the encrustation. [9] Silicone DJ stents have significantly less incidence of encrustation than polyurethane stents. [9],[10] However, prolongation of indwelling time would eliminate this difference. Other risk factors include lithogenic urine and urinary tract infections. [7] However, pregnancy does not predispose to significant encrustation. Poor compliance is the most important risk factor.

DJ stent migration is another well-documented complication. Migration can occur in an upwards or downwards direction due to ureteral peristalsis, improper placement or improper design of the stent. [11] A double-pigtail catheter as opposed to one with a J-ending is less likely to migrate. DJ stent fragmentation/breakage is also a well-known complication. Severe complications such as loss of renal function or a pyonephrotic kidney leading to nephrectomy have also been reported. Aihole et al. [12] reported a case of a 15-year old child who presented with fever and had a history of undergoing pyeloplasty for UPJ obstruction 5 years earlier. His/her mother had defaulted on the removal of DJ stent due to family issues. Radionuclide studies revealed a split renal function of 12%. The child continued to have fever following removal of the DJ stent and underwent nephrectomy for pyonephrosis.

A forgotten or retained ureteric stent is a preventable event, and literature is abundant with reports of forgotten DJ stents. The reason for the forgotten ureteral stents is due to failure on the part of treating surgeon to counsel the patient or the parents in the case of children. To overcome the issues of forgotten stents, maintenance of stent registry has been suggested. Such a registry would help in maintaining data relating to the insertion and lifespan of ureteric stents. It could also be used to send automatic E-mail/mobile SMS reminders when the stents have reached a user defined 'end of life'. It could also help to track all the forgotten or lost stent electronically. Lynch et al. [13] described and analysed a unique computerised system that tracked ureteral stents and automatically sent a notice by E-mail to clinical staff if a stent became overdue for removal. A total of 293 episodes were created within 2.4 years. Of the 241 (86%) episodes that were closed, 123 (51%) went beyond the mandatory maximal stent life (MSL). The mean delay from designated MSL to stent removal was 20.89 days (standard deviation SD 19.71). 7 months before barcode data acquisition, 43 of 71 stents were entered into the electronic stent register (data capture rate 61%). 7 months after barcode data acquisition, 52 of 60 stents were entered (data capture rate 87%; P = 0.0009). The system ensured improved patient safety with an element of protection from potential litigation.

Sabharwal et al. [14] evaluated the feasibility of a computer-based stent registry with patient-directed automated information system to prevent retained DJ stents and reported that it was feasible in a clinical setting. A prospective study was, however, needed for the evaluation of its efficacy in preventing retained stents. Patil et al. [15] reported their experience in the management of forgotten stents and the role of stent registry in preventing DJ stent-related morbidity. They opined that forgotten/retained DJ stent was a source of severe morbidity and also financial strain.

   Conclusions Top

Ureteric stents have been used in urology for over five decades and for several clinical situations. The use of ureteric stents is still evolving, and their use is not complication free. Complication/risk management has become an integral part of every clinician's practice, and the spectre of a retained or forgotten ureteric stent remains a challenge to all urologists. Complications of ureteric stents are many and varied, which include stent syndrome, urinary tract infection, stent migration, breakage, encrustation, haematuria, stent blockage, hydronephrosis and bladder erosion. Forgotten/retained stents in children are a source of severe morbidity, prolonged hospitalisation and definitely financial strain.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Finney RP. Experience with new double J ureteral catheter stent. J Urol 1978;120:678-81.  Back to cited text no. 1
Borboroglu PG, Kane CJ. Current management of severely encrusted ureteral stents with a large associated stone burden. J Urol 2000; 164(3 Pt 1):648-50.  Back to cited text no. 2
Monga M, Klein E, Castañeda-Zúñiga WR, Thomas R. The forgotten indwelling ureteral stent: A urological dilemma. J Urol 1995; 153:1817-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
Mohan-Pillai K, Keeley FX Jr, Moussa SA, Smith G, Tolley DA. Endourological management of severely encrusted ureteral stents. J Endourol 1999;13:377-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
El-Faqih SR, Shamsuddin AB, Chakrabarti A, Atassi R, Kardar AH, and Osman MK, et al. Polyurethane internal ureteral stents in treatment of stone patients: Morbidity related to indwelling times. J Urol 1991; 146:1817-20.  Back to cited text no. 5
Lam JS, Gupta M. Tips and tricks for the management of retained ureteral stents. J Endourol 2002;16:733-41.  Back to cited text no. 6
Rana AM, Sabooh A. Management strategies and results for severely encrusted retained ureteral stents. J Endourol 2007;21:628-32.  Back to cited text no. 7
Zimskind PD, Fetter TR, Wilkerson JL. Clinical use of long-term indwelling silicone rubber ureteral splints inserted cystoscopically. J Urol 1967;97:840-4.  Back to cited text no. 8
Bouzidi H, Traxer O, Doré B, Amiel J, Hadjadj H, Conort P, et al. Characteristics of encrustation of ureteric stents in patients with urinary stones. Prog Urol 2008;18:230-7.  Back to cited text no. 9
Mardis HK, Kroeger RM, Morton JJ, Donovan JM. Comparative evaluation of materials used for internal ureteral stents. J Endourol 1993;7:105-15.  Back to cited text no. 10
Singh I. Indwelling JJ ureteral stents - A current perspective and review of literature. Indian J Surg 2003;65:405-12.  Back to cited text no. 11
Aihole JS, Muniyappa NB, Javaregouda D, Jadhav V. Forgotten JJ stent: A rare case report. Pediatr Urol Case Rep 2015;2:6-10.  Back to cited text no. 12
Lynch MF, Ghani KR, Frost I, Anson KM. Preventing the forgotten ureteral stent: Implementation of a web-based stent registry with automatic recall application. Urology 2007;70:423-6.  Back to cited text no. 13
Sabharwal S, Macaden AR, Abrol N, Mukha RP, Kekre NS. A novel computer based stent registry to prevent retained stents: Will patient directed automated short message service and letter generator help? Indian J Urol 2014;30:150-2.  Back to cited text no. 14
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Patil SM, Magdum PV, Shete JS, Nerli RB, Hiremath MB. Forgotten DJ stent - A source of morbidity: Is stent registry a need of the hour? Int J Recent Sci Res 2015;6:2674-6.  Back to cited text no. 15

Correspondence Address:
Rajendra B Nerli
Department of Urology, KLES Kidney Foundation, KLE University's JN Medical College, KLES Dr. Prabhakar Kore Hospital and MRC, Belgaum, Karnataka
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0189-6725.181704

Rights and Permissions


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]

  [Table 1]

This article has been cited by
1 Successful management of an intraoperative electric burn broken ureteral stent: A case report
Lijun Zhan, Ying Zhan
Annals of Medicine and Surgery. 2022; : 104849
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 An Encrusted Ureteral Stent Removed by Open Surgery in a Solitary Pelvic Ectopic Kidney (PEK) Patient Presented with Anuria and Renal Dysfunction: A Case Report
Yang Pan, Gang Chen, Han Chen, Yunxiao Zhu, Hualin Chen
Aktuelle Urologie. 2022; 53(06): 559
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 Complications and management of retained Double-J stents in children during the Coronavirus Disease-2019 pandemic
Gali Divya, VijayKumar Kundal, Shalu Shah, PinakiRanjan Debnath, AtulKumar Meena, Amita Sen
Journal of Indian Association of Pediatric Surgeons. 2022; 27(6): 735
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
4 Risk of chronic kidney disease in patients with retained ureteral stents
Justine R Yamashiro, Travis J Cole, Cornelia S de Riese, Chip Shaw, Werner T de Riese
Journal of Clinical Urology. 2021; : 2051415821
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
5 Harnessing the epic electronic medical record to track indwelling ureteral stents in a pediatric population
Kathryn Wagner, Srinath-Reddi Pingle, Kathryn Walker, Erin Floridia, Carlos Medina, Courtney K. Rowe
Journal of Pediatric Urology. 2021;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
6 Urinary stone management during the COVID-19 pandemic: a suggested approach and review of literature
Alimohammad Fakhr Yasseri, Seyed Mohammad Kazem Aghamir
Therapeutic Advances in Urology. 2020; 12: 1756287220
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

    Materials and Me...
    Article Figures
    Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded123    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 6    

Recommend this journal