Purpose: To assess the impact of individual operator case volume on shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) treatment outcomes in more than 9000 stone cases over a 20-year period in New Zealand. Materials and Methods: Stone cases treated with SWL on the Mobile Medical Technology (MMT) vehicle between June 19, 1995, and December 1, 2014, were identified. Data collection was undertaken prospectively for patient, stone, and treatment characteristics, and retrospectively for treatment outcomes. Multivariate analysis using binary logistic regression was undertaken to assess whether radiographer stone case volume (stones/year) was an independent predictor of SWL success (stone free or clinically insignificant residual fragments ≤4 mm at follow-up). Results: Sixteen radiographers delivered treatment to the included cohort (9039 stone cases), with a median case volume (stones/year) of 73 (range: 37-197) and median total of 425 stones treated (range: 71-1721). The two radiographers with highest case volumes achieved the highest success rates. Radiographer case volume (stones/year) was independently associated with SWL success (odds ratio [OR]: 1.004, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.003-1.005, p < 0.0001) and reduced need for post-SWL hospital admission (OR: 0.997, 95% CI: 0.994-1.000, p = 0.028), but there was no associated decrease in post-SWL urosepsis (OR: 0.999, 95% CI: 0.974-1.025, p = 0.941), perinephric hematoma (OR: 1.003, 95% CI: 0.985-1.020, p = 0.778), or need for auxiliary procedures (OR: 1.000, 95% CI: 0.998-1.002, p = 0.871). Conclusions: SWL success rates can be improved by increasing the frequency of cases performed by individual operators. In this multicenter cohort of more than 9000 stone cases treated over a 20-year period, the best outcomes were seen for those radiographers performing >150 cases per year.
kidney stones, lithotripsy, shock wave lithotripsy, urolithiasis