Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a kidney disorder passed down through families. In this disease, many cysts form in the kidneys, causing them to become enlarged.
Cysts - kidneys; Kidney - polycystic; Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease; ADPKD
PKD is passed down through families (inherited). The two inherited forms of PKD are autosomal dominant and autosomal recessive.
People with PKD have many clusters of cysts in the kidneys. What exactly triggers the cysts to form is unknown.
PKD is associated with the following conditions:
As many as half of people with PKD have cysts in the liver.
Symptoms of PKD may include any of the following:
The goal of treatment is to control symptoms and prevent complications. Treatment may include:
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 end-stage kidney disease may include dialysis or a kidney transplant.
More information and support for people with polycystic kidney disease and their families can be found at a kidney disease support group.
The disease gets worse slowly. Eventually, it may lead to end-stage kidney failure. It is also associated with liver disease, including infection of liver cysts.
Treatment may relieve symptoms for many years.
People with PKD who don't have other diseases may be good candidates for a kidney transplant.
Health problems that may result from PKD include:
Contact your health care provider if:
Currently, no treatment can prevent the cysts from forming or enlarging.
Published Date: July 27, 2021
Published By: Walead Latif, MD, Nephrologist and Clinical Associate Professor, Rutgers Medical School, Newark, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
Arnaout MA. Cystic kidney diseases. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 118.
Torres VE, Harris PC. Cystic diseases of the kidney. In: Yu ASL, Chertow GM, Luyckx VA, Marsden PA, Skorecki K, Taal MW, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 45.