Polycystic Kidney Disease

Polycystic Kidney Disease

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a genetic disorder that causes many cysts to form in the kidneys.

Nationally about 7.4 per cent of end-stage kidney disease patients have PKD as their primary diagnosis. In Manitoba that number is 4.9 per cent (source). About one in 500 Canadians will be affected by PKD. Half of those diagnosed experience kidney failure by the time they’re 54 (source).

How is PKD diagnosed?

  • History of PKD in the family
  • Ultrasound or other imaging
  • Genetic testing

Types of PKD

Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD)

  • A more common genetic kidney disorder
  • Usually a family history of the disease and parents with ADPKD have a 50 percent chance of passing the disease on to each of their children
  • Many patients living with ADPKD can live with the disease symptom-free for many years before requiring additional medical care

Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD)

  • A more rare genetic disorder
  • Affects boys and girls equally
  • Most children living with ARPKD will require a transplant early on, between the ages of four and 10-years-old
  • In some cases, symptoms of ARPKD do not appear until later on in childhood or even into adolescent years

How are the kidneys affected?

  • The kidneys become large because of the cysts
  • These grape-like cysts can start taking over the function of the kidneys
  • As the cysts grow, they slowly damage the kidneys
  • Can lead to kidney failure

What are some signs and symptoms that patients with PKD can experience?

  • Pain in the back and lower sides
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Blood in the urine
  • Kidney stones
  • High blood pressure

How is PKD managed?

  • Medications
  • Low-salt diet
  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Antibiotics to treat infection
  • If your kidney disease declines to end-stage kidney disease, you will need: dialysis treatment, kidney transplant and look in to no treatment/end of life care

More Information

PKD Foundation of Canada