PKD Treatment

Treating PKD involves the following:

  • Controlling pain, headaches
  • Curing urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Controlling high blood pressure (hypertension)

Surgical reduction (removal) of cysts reduces pain in some people, especially if the cysts are large, but it does not alter the course of PKD and cannot stop cysts from developing. Surgery is performed with a laparasope through a small incision in the abdomen. Headaches may be caused by vasculitis (i.e., swollen blood vessels in the head). Antibiotics are used to cure UTI before it spreads to the cysts and ACE inhibitors are used to lower blood pressure.

In November 2014, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported that recent studies indicate:

  • A combination of FDA-approved drugs (lisinopril and telmisartan) is no more effective than a single drug in slowing progression of autosomal dominant PKD.
  • Rigorous blood pressure control can slow the growth of kidney cysts in people with ADPKD, but has little effect on kidney function.

In the blood pressure study, patients who maintained a lower blood pressure (95–110/60–75) were 15 percent more likely to experience dizziness and lightheadedness.

Renal replacement therapy (RRT), which involves kidney dialysis or transplantation, may be required in ESDR to restore kidney function. If the prospective kidney comes from someone in the family, genetic counseling and assessment is necessary. Cysts do not develop in healthy transplanted kidneys.

PKD Prognosis

Many infants and children with recessive PKD die from hepatic fibrosis, which obstructs blood flow and causes bile buildup in the liver. Its symptoms are enlargement of the liver and the spread of a fibrous connective tissue over the liver.

Patients who survive into their 20s may develop splenic, pancreatic, and vascular problems. Children with recessive PKD often have smaller than average stature.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 30 Apr 2001

Last Modified: 01 Oct 2015