Oxalosis

Last revised by Dr Francis Deng on 11 Jan 2021

Oxalosis is supersaturation of calcium oxalate in the urine (hyperoxaluria), which in turn results in nephrolithiasis and cortical nephrocalcinosis

This article focus on the secondary oxalosis, please refer to primary oxalosis for a specific discussion on this entity. 

Calcium oxalate deposition most commonly affects the bone, bone marrow, blood vessels, central nervous system, peripheral nerves, retina, skin, and thyroid. There are two forms of this condition:

  • primary: an autosomal recessive disease that is expressed in childhood
  • secondary: usually related to an overingestion of oxalic acids or its precursors (e.g. vitamin C) in patients with kidney or hepatic chronic diseases, especially during long-term dialysis

Foods that are high in oxalic acids include rhubarb, spinach, celery and cocoa 2.

The typical radiographic finding is cortical nephrocalcinosis.

When left untreated, hyperoxaluria will ultimately lead to renal failure, which in turn results in oxalosis: a condition in which calcium oxalate crystals are deposited in extrarenal organs.

Renal transplant is the only treatment for patients with renal failure and systemic oxalosis as dialysis is not sufficient to prevent disease progression.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: Primary oxalosis
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