TISU: Extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy, as first treatment option, compared with direct progression to ureteroscopic treatment, for ureteric stones: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

Samuel McClinton, Sarah Cameron, Kathryn Starr, Ruth Thomas, Graeme MacLennan, Alison McDonald, Thomas Lam, James N’Dow, Mary Kilonzo, Robert Pickard, Ken Anson, Neil Burgess, Charles Terry Clark, Sara MacLennan, John Norrie, the TISU Study Group

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Urinary stone disease is very common with an estimated prevalence among the general population of 2–3%. Ureteric stones are associated with severe pain as they pass through the urinary tract and have significant impact on patients’ quality of life due to the detrimental effect on their ability to work and need for hospitalisation. Most ureteric stones can be expected to pass spontaneously with supportive care. However, between one-fifth and one-third of cases require an intervention.

The two standard active intervention options are extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL) and ureteroscopic stone retrieval. ESWL and ureteroscopy are effective in terms of stone clearance; however, they differ in terms of invasiveness, anaesthetic requirement, treatment setting, complications, patient-reported outcomes (e.g. pain after intervention, time off work) and cost. There is uncertainty around which is the most clinically effective in terms of stone clearance and the true cost to the NHS and to society (in terms of impact on patient-reported health and economic burden).

The aim of this trial is to determine whether, in adults with ureteric stones, judged to require active intervention, ESWL is not inferior and is more cost-effective compared to ureteroscopic treatment as the initial management option.

The TISU study is a pragmatic multicentre non-inferiority randomised controlled trial of ESWL as the first treatment option compared with direct progression to ureteroscopic treatment for ureteric stones.

Patients aged over 16 years with a ureteric stone confirmed by non-contrast computed tomography of the kidney, ureter and bladder (CTKUB) will be randomised to either ESWL or ureteroscopy. The primary clinical outcome is resolution of the stone episode (no further intervention required to facilitate stone clearance) up to six months from randomisation. The primary economic outcome is the incremental cost per quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained at six months from randomisation.

Determining whether ESWL is not inferior clinically and is cost-effective compared to ureteroscopic treatment as the initial management in adults with ureteric stones who are judged to require active treatment is relevant not only to patients and clinicians but also to healthcare providers, both in the UK and globally.

Trial registration
ISRCTN registry, ISRCTN92289221. Registered on 21 February 2013.
Original languageEnglish
Article number286
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2018



  • Ureteric stone
  • ESWL
  • Ureteroscopy

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