Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is an inherited kidney disorder. It causes fluid-filled cysts to form in the kidneys. PKD may impair kidney function and cause kidney failure.
According to the University of Chicago Medicine (UCM), PKD is the fourth leading cause of kidney failure. About half of patients with PKD also develop cysts of the liver (UCM, 2012).
PKD is generally inherited. Less commonly, it develops in patients who have other serious kidney problems.
There are three types of PKD.
According to UCM, ADPKD accounts for about 90 percent of PKD cases. If one parent has the disorder, the chance of passing it down to their child is 50 percent (UCM, 2012). ADPKD is sometimes called adult PKD. Symptoms usually develop later in life, between the ages of 30 and 40. However, symptoms can start in childhood.
ARPKD is much less common than ADPKD. It is also inherited. However, both parents must carry the gene for the disease. People with ARPKD will not have symptoms unless they have two copies of a disease gene.
There are four types of ARPKD:
Acquired Cystic Kidney Disease (ACKD)
ACKD is not inherited. It usually develops in patients who already have other kidney problems. It is more common in those who have kidney failure or are on dialysis.
ACKD usually occurs later in life.
The main symptoms of PKD include:
Other symptoms include:
Some disorders that are associated with PKD include:
Children with autosomal recessive PKD may have symptoms such as:
Symptoms in children may resemble other disorders. It is important to get medical attention for a child experiencing the symptoms listed above.
PKD is an inherited disorder. Therefore, your healthcare provider will probably review your family history. They may initially order:
Your health care provider may use imaging tests to look for cysts of the kidney, liver, and other organs. Imaging tests used to diagnose PKD include:
A cerebral angiography may be ordered for patients with PKD who have a higher incidence of cerebral aneurysms
The goal of PKD treatment is to manage symptoms. Controlling high blood pressure is the most important part of treatment. Treatment may include:
With advanced PKD, dialysis and kidney transplant may be necessary. One or both of the kidneys may need to be removed.
PKD is associated with many complications. These include:
In most people, PKD slowly gets worse over time. It may lead to liver disease. Eventually, the disease ends in kidney failure.
Proper medical care can relieve PKD symptoms for years. If you dont have other medical problems, you may be a good candidate for a kidney transplant.
Talk to a genetic counselor if you have a family history of PKD and are planning to have children.