Polycystic kidney disease is a kidney disorder passed down through families in which many cysts form in the kidneys, causing them to become enlarged.
Cysts – kidneys; Kidney – polycystic; Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease; ADPKD
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is passed down through families (inherited), usually as an
Autosomal dominant PKD occurs in both children and adults, but it is much more common in adults. Symptoms often do not appear until middle age. It affects nearly 1 in 1,000 Americans. The actual number may be more, because some people do not have symptoms.
Persons with PKD have many clusters of
PKD is associated with the following conditions:
Cysts in the liver, pancreas, and
testes Diverticulaof the colon
As many as half of people with PKD have cysts on the liver. A family history of PKD increases your risk for the condition.
Abdominal painor tenderness Blood in the urine Excessive urination at night Flank painon one or both sides
Other symptoms that may occur with this disease include:
Drowsiness Joint pain Nail abnormalities
Exams and Tests
An examination may show:
Abdominal tendernessover the liver
Heart murmursor other signs of aortic insufficiencyor mitral insufficiency
High blood pressure
Growths in the kidneys or abdomen
Tests that may be done include:
Complete blood count(CBC)
People with a personal or family history of PKD should be tested to determine if cerebral aneurysms are causing headaches.
Polycystic kidney disease and
Abdominal CT scan Abdominal MRIscan Abdominal ultrasound Intravenous pyelogram(IVP)
If several members of your family have PKD, genetic tests can be done to determine whether you carry the PKD gene.
The goal of treatment is to control symptoms and prevent complications. High blood pressure may be hard to control, but controlling it is the most important part of treatment.
Treatment may include:
Blood pressure medicines
Any urinary tract infection should be treated quickly with antibiotics.
Cysts that are painful, infected, bleeding, or causing a blockage may need to be drained. There are usually too many cysts to make it practical to remove each cyst.
Surgery to remove one or both kidneys may be needed. Treatments for
You can often ease the stress of an illness by joining a support group where members share common experiences and problems.
The disease gets worse slowly. Eventually it leads to end-stage
Medical treatment may relieve symptoms for many years.
People with PKD who don’t have other diseases may be good candidates for a kidney transplant.
- Bleeding or rupture of cysts
- Chronic kidney disease
- End-stage kidney disease
- High blood pressure
- Infection of liver cysts
- Liver failure (mild to severe)
urinary tract infections
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if:
You have symptoms of PKD
You have a family history of polycystic kidney disease or related disorders and you are planning to have children (you may want to have genetic counseling)
Currently, no treatment can prevent the cysts from forming or enlarging.