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Polycystic Kidney Disease

(PKD; Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease; ADPKD; Adult Polycystic Disease; Polycystic Kidney Disease Type 2)

Definition

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is when many fluid-filled cysts form in the kidneys. The kidneys get bigger as the cysts grow inside them. This can cause kidney damage and other problems.
Autosomal dominant PKD happens in adults and is the most common type. Autosomal recessive PKD is a type found in newborns.
Anatomy of the Kidney
Glomerulonephritis
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

PKD is caused by faulty gene. Other people have it due to changes in a certain gene.

Risk Factors

The risk of this problem is higher in people who have a parent with PKD.

Symptoms

Some people have symptoms at birth while others do not have problems until later in life. Symptoms also differ from person to person.
Problems may be:
  • Pain in the back or side
  • Blood in the urine
  • Belly pain
  • Frequent urination

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.
Blood and urine tests will be done to check kidney function.
Images may be taken of the kidneys. This can be done with:

Treatment

There is no cure. The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms and prevent health problems. Options are:
  • Medicines to:
    • Lower high blood pressure and cholesterol
    • Ease pain
    • Treat cysts that are bleeding
  • Dietary changes, such as drinking plenty of fluids and a low sodium diet
  • Dialysis to remove waste from the blood
Some people may need surgery to:
  • Drain or remove cysts to ease pain, bleeding, or a blockage
  • Remove one or both kidneys— nephrectomy
  • Replace a damaged kidney — kidney transplant

Prevention

There is no known way to prevent PKD.

RESOURCES

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
https//www.niddk.nih.gov
PKD Foundation
https://pkdcure.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Health Canada
https://www.canada.ca
The Kidney Foundation of Canada
https://www.kidney.ca

References

Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/autosomal-dominant-polycystic-kidney-disease-adpkd. Accessed December 29, 2020.
Chebib F, Perrone R , et al. A practical guide for treatment of rapidly progressive ADPKD with tolvaptan. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2018 Oct;29(10):2458-2470.
Kidney (renal) and cystic disease. Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/k/kidney-(renal)-dysplasia-and-cystic-disease. Accessed December 29, 2020.
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/polycystic-kidney-disease.html. Accessed December 29, 2020.
What is PKD? PKD Foundation website. Available at: https://pkdcure.org/what-is-pkd. Accessed December 29, 2020.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
  • Review Date: 09/2020
  • Update Date: 12/29/2020