Differential Diagnosis

The differential diagnosis of renal colic includes several red flags listed below. For this reason imaging is essential.

Differential diagnosis for renal colic

  • Pancreatitis
  • Appendicitis
  • Ovarian pathology and torsion
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Renal infarct
  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Cholecystitis
  • Renal carcinoma
  • pyelonephritis
  • Incarcerated hernia
  • Diverticular disease
  • Pneumonia

Learning bite

Pay particular attention to renal carcinoma in all age groups and aortic complications in the elderly.

Investigations consist of imaging, haematology, biochemistry and urine samples.

Renal colic may also be diagnosed when with the increasing utilisation of imaging, stones are discovered incidentally in the investigation of abdominal pain not originally attributed to renal colic [4].

Learning bite

Patients with renal colic that ‘has seemed to resolve’ should be imaged, to eliminate differential diagnoses.