Polycystic kidney disease

Pelvis | Urology | Polycystic kidney disease (Disease)


Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a group of monogenic disorders that result in renal cyst development. The morbidity associated with the most common forms, autosomal dominant PKD (ADPKD) and autosomal recessive PKD (ARPKD), is largely limited to the kidney and liver (and, in ADPKD, vasculature) and extends from neonates to old age.

It is common for healthy people, especially older people, to develop, one, two, or even a few harmless cysts in a kidney. These usually cause no problems and are not due to polycystic kidney disease.

Causes and Risk factors

Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic condition. This means that one or more of your genes is faulty which results in you making many cysts in thekidneys. There are different types of polycystic kidney disease. The disease develops very slowly and therefore symptoms and problems usually do not develop until adulthood. More and more cysts, sometimes up to several hundred, develop over the years.

The size of most of the cysts range from the size of a pinhead to 2 cm in diameter. However, some can become much larger. The cysts press on the normal parts of the kidney and gradually replace much of the normal kidney tissue. In time, this affects the function of the kidney as less and less normal kidney tissue is able to filter the blood. In many cases, the function of the kidneys eventually becomes so bad that end-stage kidney failure develops.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The diagnosis and extent of the disease can be determined with the following tests: abdominal ultrasound, abdominal CT scan, abdominal MRI scan, IVP, and blood tests to measure kidney function. Patients with headaches may need tests to rule out an associated cerebral aneurysm.

Therapy involves dealing with the secondary complications of the disease. Medications and treatment include: high blood pressure medications, pain medications, antibiotics for urinary tract infections, and dialysis for kidney failure. Surgery is occasionally needed for large cysts causing damage to adjacent organs. ...