Aim: Urinary stone disease affects people of all ages. With its satisfactory efficacy ranges in all age groups and lack of side-effects, extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) has become the preferred treatment modality for uncomplicated renal and proximal calculi =20 mm. In the present study, we aimed to assess the safety and efficacy of the ESWL treatment in elderly patients. Methods: A retrospective study was carried out on patients aged over 65 years who underwent shock wave lithotripsy at our Department from 2009 to 2011, with a Siemens Lithostar electromagnetic shockwave lithotripter. A total of 231 patients (157 males, 74 females) out of 1694 (13.6%) were studied. The patients were divided into two groups (group 1 = 6570; group 2 >70). The effect of age and other possible predicting factors (sex, stone localization and stone size) were investigated. Concomitant diseases and related complications were also evaluated. Results: An overall stone-free rate (SFR) of 82.2% was found. The influence of sex on SFR was non-significant. There was no significant difference when comparing SFR between the age groups. When patients were divided into those with renal and ureteral stones, the SFR were 94.4% and 67.6% (P < 0.01), respectively. The SFR of the stone size groups, =10 mm and >10 mm were 80% and 84.4%, respectively. Comorbidity was present in 148 patients. Complications were noted in 56 of 231 patients. Of 56 patients, 43 had minor complications and 13 major complications. Conclusion: ESWL seems to be an effective first-line treatment choice for urinary stones in elderly patients with careful patient selection and personalized preparation. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2012; 12: 413417.