BACKGROUND/AIMS: To assess the incidence of renal colic and the results of emergency management. METHODS: During a 12 month period data of patients with symptoms of renal colic were collected. RESULTS: A total of 495 visits were registered. The M/F was 2.19. Mean age was higher in males (45.5+/-13.0 vs 42.5+/-15.5 years, P=0.025). Three patients were hospitalised for immediate urinary diversion due to anuria or sepsis. Fifty-three patients recovered without performing any pharmacological treatment. Analgesic treatment (mainly NSAID) was offered to 439 patients. After a 6 hour period 36 patients were admitted to the hospital owing to persistent pain. Pain was reduced in 403 patients (91.8%) who were offered outpatient renal ultrasound within 48 hours. Twenty-five patients (6.2%) required deferred hospitalisation. Follow up with renal ultrasound was obtained in 213. CONCLUSION: Renal colics accounted for 0.9% of ambulatory care visits to our emergency departments with an annual rate of 0.158 visits per 100 in the general population. NSAIDs were efficacious in the management of colic. Diagnostic work up was able to demonstrate the presence of a stone in 56% of the subjects presenting with renal colic whereas alternative diagnoses were demonstrated in 12%.