Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) runs in families. With PKD, the cysts take the place of the normal tissue. They enlarge the kidneys, contribute to poor kidney function and can lead to kidney failure. If this occurs, the person with PKD would need dialysis or kidney transplantation.

Acquired Cystic Kidney Disease (ACKD) usually happens to people who are on dialysis. Unlike PKD, the kidneys are normal sized, and cysts do not form in other areas. People with ACKD already have chronic kidney disease when they develop cysts. ACKD often has no symptoms. In most cases, the cysts are harmless and do not require treatment.


Symptoms of PKD can include:

  • Pain in the back and lower sides
  • Headaches
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Blood in the urine


To determine if you have PKD, your Ohio State urologists will conduct a physical examination, ask about your family’s medical history and conduct imaging tests.


If it is determined you have PKD, medication can help prevent the progression of this condition. If kidney failure occurs, treatment options include dialysis or kidney transplantation.

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