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Polycystic kidney disease

  • Alternative Names

    Cysts - kidneys; Kidney - polycystic; Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease; ADPKD


    The goal of treatment is to control symptoms and prevent complications. High blood pressure may be difficult to control, but control of it is the most important aspect of treatment.

    Treatment may include:

    • Blood pressure medicines
    • Diuretics
    • Low-salt diet

    Any urinary tract infection should be treated promptly with appropriate antibiotics.

    Cysts that are painful, infected, bleeding, or causing an obstruction may need to be drained. (There are usually too many cysts to make removal a feasible alternative.)

    Surgical removal of one or both kidneys may be required. Treatment of end-stage kidney disease may include kidney dialysis or kidney transplantation.

    Support Groups

    The stress of an illness can often be helped by joining a support group where members share common experiences and problems.

    See: Kidney disease - support group

    Expectations (prognosis)

    The disease gets worse slowly, eventually resulting in end-stage kidney failure. It is also associated with liver disease, including infection of liver cysts.

    Medical treatment may provide relief of symptoms for many years.

    The absence of systemic disease or autoimmune disease makes people with polycystic kidney disease good candidates for kidney transplantation.

    • High blood pressure
    • Anemia
    • Recurrent urinary tract infection
    • Recurrent kidney infection
    • Kidney stones
    • Kidney failure, mild to severe
    • End-stage kidney disease
    • Bleeding or rupture of cysts
    • Infection of liver cysts
    • Liver failure, mild to severe

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if symptoms indicate polycystic kidney disease may be present.

    Call for an appointment with your health care provider if there is a family history of polycystic kidney disease or associated disorders and children are planned. Genetic counseling may be offered.