Diagnosis of PKD

What are the symptoms of PKD? — Some people with PKD have no symptoms. When people do have symptoms, they can have:

  • Pain in the lower half of the back or on the side, with or without a fever
  • Pain in the belly
  • Blood in the urine
  • Kidney stones – These are small, stone-like objects that form inside the kidneys. They can cause belly or side pain, or blood in the urine.

PKD can also cause problems in other parts of the body, such as:

  • High blood pressure— High blood pressure is a common feature of PKD, occurring in 60 to 70 percent of patients with normal kidney function by the age of 29. Over 90 percent of patients will have high blood pressure by the time they reach end-stage kidney failure. Men have higher blood pressures than women, and high blood pressure is associated with bigger kidneys and faster rates of kidney growth.
  • A bulging blood vessel in the brain – If the blood vessel bursts, it can cause a sudden, severe headache and nausea and vomiting. A burst blood vessel can lead to brain damage and even death.
  • Cysts in the liver – These can cause belly pain.
  • Cysts in the pancreas.
  • A weak area in the belly muscles (called a “hernia”) – This can cause an area of the belly to bulge out.
  • Heart problems – These do not usually cause symptoms.

Is there a test for PKD? — Yes. To find out if you have PKD, your doctor can do:

  • An imaging test, such as an ultrasound, CT, or MRI scan – Imaging tests that create pictures of the inside of the body.
  • Blood tests to check for the abnormal genes that cause the disease

Disclaimer: The UCLA Health System cannot guarantee the accuracy of such information. The information is provided without warranty or guarantee of any kind. Please speak to your Physician before making any changes.