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Polycystic Kidney Disease

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is an inherited disease that replaces normal kidney tissue with fluid-filled cysts. As a result, over a 30- to 40-year period, the kidney stops working.

While most cases of PKD are passed down through families, it may also develop from chronic kidney disease and occurs most often in people with kidney failure who have been on dialysis for a long time.

Symptoms of polycystic kidney disease include back and side pain, headache, urinary tract infections, and blood in the urine (hematuria).

There is no cure for PKD. Treatment includes antibiotics; medicines and surgery to control pain; and dialysis or kidney transplant to treat kidney failure.

Last Revised: September 15, 2011

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Mitchell H. Rosner, MD - Nephrology

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