What tests are used to diagnose oxalosis?
Measurement of urinary oxalate and related substances may suggest the diagnosis of oxalosis. These are paired with blood tests to measure oxalate levels in the circulatory system and to assess kidney function.
We may also perform renal imaging (examine images of the kidney) using ultrasound imaging, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) scans.
A genetic test will tell us if your child has a genetic disorder associated with oxalosis, which we can do by taking a blood sample or by swabbing the inside of the cheek. We may also perform a liver biopsy, which will help us to clarify what type of enzyme is being affected.
What to expect from a liver biopsy
We use a liver biopsy to confirm and classify oxalosis, as there are several different types based on what enzyme is being affected. We can do a liver biopsy as an outpatient procedure, so your child won’t have to stay overnight.
We ask that your child not eat anything for 4 to 8 hours before the procedure. Once your child arrives, we will place them on an IV to administer medication. Depending on each case, we either sedate your child for the procedure or give them anesthesia so they are fully asleep to eliminate as much stress and pain as possible.
We use a minimally invasive technique, inserting a needle through your child’s side and onto the surface of their liver. We use a very small camera to guide us through the entire procedure, which enables us to be very accurate. Using the needle, we remove a small amount of tissue, then examine it under a microscope and analyze it, which takes a few days.
The biopsy procedure takes about one hour, after which your child will wake up. We will monitor your child for several hours to ensure there are no complications such as bleeding. Once we ensure everything is fine, you can take your child home. Make sure they avoid strenuous activities for about three days. After a few days, we will contact you to discuss the biopsy results and begin to develop a treatment plan.
How do we make a diagnosis of oxalosis?
We make a diagnosis based on a combination of things. Sometimes a family history of kidney stones can tell us if your child’s condition may be hereditary. The results of urine and blood tests also help us decide if further evaluation needs to be done. This evaluation may sometimes include a 24-hour urine collection, a kidney stones analysis, a kidney ultrasound, or sometimes even a detailed eye exam. However, the results of genetic testing and a liver biopsy will always give us a definitive answer and allow us to give a final diagnosis.
Why choose us to diagnose oxalosis?
We have extensive experience testing for and diagnosing oxalosis. Our doctors and nurses are trained to work exclusively with children. Some of the tests can be scary, even for adults, so we make an extra effort to explain the procedures in a way that children and families can understand and help them feel safe and comfortable throughout their time in our care.
From uniquely designed instruments, to our pediatric anesthesiologists and Child Life team, we plan everything we do around caring for children, so that they can focus on feeling better and getting back to what kids do best.