Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Medical Biophysics


Dr. Ian Cunningham


Urolithiasis is the presence of urinary calculi (urinary stones) at any level along the excretory system. Establishing accurate and complete mineral composition of the stones is one of the main factors in deciding the best steps for therapy and recurrence prevention.

Currently, infrared spectroscopy (IRS) and x-ray diffractometry (XRD) provide bulk composition results of urinary calculi in powdered form. Clinicians use the results to prescribe medical and dietary measures to restore the physiologic chemical balance of urine or rather alter it for the purpose of decreasing the crystallization rate of single or multiple minerals. As current methods have been shown reliable from a clinical perspective, they may also be, due to sampling bias, prone to missing the core components from the analysis.

This work shows that coherent scatter computed tomography (CSCT) is a composition-imaging, laboratory method able to provide both composition analysis of intact calculi and a distribution map of minerals within the stone, including its core and the surrounding layers. Aspects related to CSCT’s measurement uncertainties, CSCT’s analysis of kidney stones in both intact and pulverized forms and the summarized conclusions of a comparison study between CSCT and IRS are presented. With this new knowledge clinicians may choose to employ a core-targeted prevention plan in the management of urolithiasis to further decrease the recurrence rate in these patients.