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There are different types of kidney stones with calcium oxalate and uric acid stones being the most common.
Less common are struvite and cystine stones.
Struvite kidney stones are a consequence of infections with urease-positive organisms in the upper urinary tract.
These organisms include Proteus, Pseudomonas and Klebsiella. Bacteria such as E coli, while common causes of infection, are not urease-positive and therefore tend not to cause struvite kidney stones.
Struvite kidney stones are potentially dangerous as they can fill the space in the kidney, taking on a “stag horn” appearance, and often require surgical intervention. Medical treatment includes the administration of the drug acetohydroxamic acid, an irreversible synthetic urease inhibitor, but this can have a difficult side-effect profile. Surgical options include shock wave lithotripsy or percutaneous nephrolithotomy. Due to the significant morbidity and potential mortality of staghorn calculi, prompt treatment is needed. We hope to investigate whether our Watercress Tonic is renally excreted to allow effective treatment of staghorn calculi through prevention of ammonia production.