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Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)

In polycystic kidney disease (PKD), fluid-filled cysts form in the kidneys. These growths can crowd the normal tissue and cause loss of kidney function. Polycystic kidney disease can cause kidney failure (end-stage renal disease). However, many people with the disorder never develop kidney failure, and a variety of lifestyle changes and treatment options can prevent or delay the loss of kidney function.

You can have polycystic kidney disease for years before developing symptoms, typically in your 30s or 40s. Symptoms include:

Polycystic kidney disease can also cause cysts in other parts of your body, including your liver, spleen and pancreas. About 20 percent of people with polycystic kidney disease also have mitral valve prolapse (leaky heart valve), which is usually harmless.

Polycystic kidney disease is an inherited condition. There are two types:

  • Autosomal dominant. This type of polycystic kidney disease, which accounts for 90 percent of cases, usually develops in adulthood. If one of your parents has this condition, you have a 50 percent chance of developing it.
  • Autosomal recessive. This rare form of polycystic kidney disease begins early in life, sometimes before birth.

At Indiana University Health, we use imaging studies, including ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to diagnose and monitor polycystic kidney disease.

The physicians at Indiana University Health develop an individualized care plan that includes treating high blood pressure (hypertension) and other related conditions in order to preserve your kidney function. Although there is no cure for the condition, we provide care and lifestyle guidance to address your symptoms, concerns and preferences.

Through our close relationship with Indiana University School of Medicine, our kidney experts have access to the most advanced diagnostic and treatment options for kidney disorders. We also train new generations of physicians to care for kidney conditions.

How We Can Help

How We Can Help

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Treatment Information

Treatment for polycystic kidney disease centers on controlling blood pressure and managing symptoms. Options include:


Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Locations & Physicians

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Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Support Services

Understanding polycystic kidney disease can help you manage it effectively. Learn more from these resources: