Clin Surg | Volume 6, Issue 1 | Research Article | Open Access

Kidney Stone Disease of Non Gouty Origin in 264 Popes (34-2005 AD): A Historical Review

Natale Gapare De Santo1*, Carmela Bisaccia2 and Luca Salvatore De Santo3

1University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli Naples, Italy
2Mazzini Institute Naples, Italy
3Department of Medical Translational Division, Division of Thoracic Surgery, University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, Italy

*Correspondance to: Natale Gaspare De Santo 

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A total of 11 non-gouty popes out of 264 (4.1%) died of kidney stones (very probably calcium stones) between the years 34-2005 AD. The prevalence of kidney stones was lower than expected on the basis of recent population-based data. The discrepancy might be due to the changing nutritional habits. Causes of death included acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease, and stroke. The disease was highly recurrent in 9 of 11 (88.1%). Recurrences were observed 1 to 30 years after the first attack. Mean age at death was 63.1 years, much shorter than expected in popes. Clinically recurrent back-flank-groin pain emerged as a hallmark indicator of kidney stones in the narratives. It was sometimes associated with fever, hematuria, purulent urine and/or frequent urination and dysuria. Some popes were obese, sedentary, voracious and wine drinkers; others were lean, took long walks, ate frugal meals and practiced restraint when it came to drinking alcohol. They were cured with bed rest, diets, donkey milk, mineral waters, decongestant, purgatives, thermal baths, blood-letting, and surgery.


De Santo NG, Bisaccia C, De Santo LS. Kidney Stone Disease of Non Gouty Origin in 264 Popes (34-2005 AD): A Historical Review. Clin Surg. 2021; 6: 3307..

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