The objective of this investigation was to explore the care of patients who have ureteric stents inserted following a diagnosis of a kidney or ureteric stone. A ureteric stent is a narrow tube that is inserted into the ureter (the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder) to help with urine drainage.
The reference event investigated was a woman who suffered an episode of kidney stones which was treated successfully but required the insertion of a ureteric stent. The stent was left in situ (in position) for a longer period than intended and became encrusted – that is, minerals filtered from the bloodstream attached to and built up on the stent. This led to the patient needing a more extensive operation to remove the stent.
The findings and conclusions aim to prevent the future occurrence of unplanned delayed removal of stents and improve care for patients across the NHS.
- It is recommended that the British Association of Urological Surgeons, in collaboration with other relevant specialties (such as the Royal College of Radiologists and British Transplant Society), develops national standards which support electronic and paperbased systems for stent logging/ tracking. These standards should include guidance on monitoring and human oversight.
- It is recommended that the British Association of Urological Surgeons works with the Patient Information Forum to review its stent patient information leaflet. This should include accessibility and clinical considerations, especially with regards to side effects and complications, and advice on the action to take should concerns arise.
- It is recommended that the British Association of Urological Surgeons provides guidance for staff working within the stone care pathway to promote consistent advice to patients as part of discharge planning.
- It is recommended that the British Association of Urological Surgeons encourages members to include information in discharge letters and other communication sent to GPs and patients regarding patients’ stent status, potential complications and the possibility of a retained stent.
- The NHS Summary Care Records (SCR) system is being developed to allow for specific patient groups to be flagged. It may be beneficial for the British Association of Urological Surgeons to liaise with NHSX should opportunities arise in the future to use SCR to flag patients with ureteric stents to aid communication with primary/urgent care services.
- The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance for the management of urinary tract infections does not include ureteric stents as a cause of urinary symptoms which could mimic a urinary tract infection. It may be beneficial for this potential complication to be considered in the next review of this and other clinical practice guidance.