Polycystic kidney disease

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Our Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Main Article provides a comprehensive look at the who, what, when and how of Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)

Medical Definition of Polycystic kidney disease

Polycystic kidney disease: A genetic disorder characterized by the development of innumerable cysts in the kidneys. These cysts are filled with fluid, and replace much of the mass of the kidneys which reduces kidney function, leading to kidney failure.

There are two major genetic forms of polycystic kidney disease that are inherited differently and tend to strike at different ages and proceed at different speeds:

  • Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease -- also known as adult polycystic kidney disease.
  • Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease -- also known as juvenile polycystic kidney disease.

Polycystic kidney disease can be diagnosed by ultrasound imaging and by CT or MRI scan. Treatment involves managing pain and treating infections, high blood pressure, and kidney failure.


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Reviewed on 5/13/2016

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