To examine the association between hyperoxalaemia and secondary oxalosis, measurement of plasma oxalate concentration was combined with a search for tissue deposition of calcium oxalate crystals in patients with chronic renal disease. Two groups of patients were studied. In the first, samples of the inferior epigastric artery were taken from 35 patients at the time of renal transplantation. In the second, sections taken at necropsy from 23 patients with chronic renal failure in whom plasma oxalate had been measured before death were examined. Though plasma oxalate concentrations ranged between 6 and 116 mumol/l (four to 78 times greater than the upper limit of the reference range), no extrarenal deposits of oxalate were found in either study. Renal deposition of oxalate was associated with a plasma oxalate concentration of greater than 20 mumol/l. This study gives no support to the suggestion that hyperoxalaemia of the degree seen in patients with the type of chronic renal failure that is not due to primary hyperoxaluria confers an appreciable risk of extrarenal oxalosis.
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