Our objective was to determine the efficacy of extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) in the treatment of paediatric ureteral calculous disease. We reviewed the records of 41 (23 boys, 18 girls) paediatric patients admitted to our clinic for the treatment of ureteral calculi between between 1989-2001. Patients' age varied between 4-16 years. The majority of the patients, 38 (92.7%) cases were treated initially with ESWL whereas 3 (7.3%) cases were subjected to ureterolithotomy. The mean age of the patients was found as 12.8+/-3.86 (4-16) years. Most calculi were located at either upper or lower ureter. The mean stone burden was 45.16+/-30.65 mm(2) and the mean shock wave number per session and power as 2826.72+/-605.18 and 17.69+/-1.11 kV respectively. Minor complications included skin ecchymosis at the site of entry of shock waves in all cases and renal colic that responded to analgesics and emetics in 3 (7.9%) patients. The overall stone-free rate after ESWL was found to be 81.6%. Two (5.3%) cases have residual fragments that escaped to lower calices after lithotripsy for upper ureteral calculi and are still followed. There were 5 (13.2%) failures who were treated with ureterolitotomy for 1 upper and 1 lower ureteral calculi and with ureteroscopy for the rest. It appears that ESWL is still a good option for the initial treatment of most ureteral calculi in children as it is less invasive than ureteroscopy and has a high success rate as a first-line therapy.