Signs and Symptoms of Polycystic Kidney Disease

Symptoms of PKD include those that affect the kidney as well as some that affect other organs, including the brain and liver. Though little is known about kidney-related cyst formation in other organs, it is probably related to abnormalities in the glomerular membrane.

Symptoms of Autosomal Dominant PKD

  • Abdominal, back, or side pain caused by:
    • Enlarged kidney
    • Hemorrhage into cyst
    • Infected cyst
    • Kidney stone
    • Rupture of cyst
  • Aneurysm (weakened blood vessel in the brain)
  • Chronic renal failure and end-stage renal disease (ESDR)
  • Hematuria
  • Hypertension
  • Pancreatic and hepatic (in the liver) cysts

Symptoms of Autosomal Recessive PKD (Infantile PKD)

  • Enlarged cystic kidney at birth
  • Hepatic fibrosis (abnormally small liver with scar tissue)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)

PKD Diagnosis

A nephrologist uses CT scan, x rays, and ultrasound to view kidney cysts. Autosomal dominant PKD is diagnosed when cysts are found in other organs as well as the kidney.

Scarring (sclerosis) of the liver distinguishes PKD recessive type and can be seen in a developing fetus.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 30 Apr 2001

Last Modified: 01 Oct 2015