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Polycystic Kidney Disease

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What is Polycystic Kidney Disease?

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a rare genetic disorder that causes cysts filled with fluid to grow in the kidneys. These cysts can affect how the kidneys work. If numerous cysts grow or become enlarged, it can lead to kidney failure.

People with PKD sometimes develop cysts in the liver and problems in other organs, such as the heart and blood vessels in the brain.

PKD is the fourth leading cause of kidney failure. According to the National Kidney Foundation, it affects about 600,000 people in the U.S.

Symptoms of PKD

Symptoms often start between age 30 and 40, but they can begin in childhood. They include:

  • Belly pain
  • Detectable belly mass
  • Pale color to skin
  • Easy bruising
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney stones
  • Pouches in the intestines (diverticulosis)
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Blood in the urine

Schedule an appointment with a UR Medicine provider.

Call (585) 275-4517

UR Medicine's Treatments for Polycystic Kidney Disease

Polycystic kidney disease is diagnosed based on family history, blood tests, and imaging. While there is no known cure for PKD, there are some interventions that can help reduce cyst growth. High fluid intake is often advised as this will help reduce the rate at which cysts grow. Sometimes a medication called tolvaptan can be used to slow down the rate of cyst growth. However, tolvaptan can have very serious complications and therefore it is important to discuss the risks and benefits of tolvaptan with your nephrologist.

What Sets Us Apart?

Our Nephrology Division, which treats kidney patients, has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report for years as one of the top adult nephrology care centers in the country.

Our nephrologists serve as medical directors for 12 dialysis units, providing care to over 600 dialysis patients, and provide ongoing care to 650 kidney transplant recipients.

Our nephrologists work closely with UR Medicine’s Advanced Heart Failure Program, providing Nephrologic care to patients with Ventricular Assist Devices and Total Artificial Heart Implantation.

We have a diverse group of physicians interested in the entire spectrum of nephrology services.

Because we’re an academic medical center, we also lead research studies with funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and other sources. So we’re aware of the latest developments in care.


Our care team is here for you. Find a UR Medicine expert and get care now.

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We serve you in the Rochester metropolitan area and surrounding region.

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5 locations

General and Transplant Nephrology - Rochester

601 Elmwood Avenue, 2nd & 3rd Floors
Rochester, NY 14642

Nephrology Clinic - Rochester

Highland Professional Office Building
990 South Avenue, GAMA Practice, Suite 207
Rochester, NY 14620

Nephrology Clinic - Canandaigua

Thompson Professional Building
395 West Street, Suite 007
Canandaigua, NY 14424

Nephrology Clinic - Hornell

St. James Medical Office Building
7309 Seneca Road North, Suite 102
Hornell, NY 14843

Nephrology Clinic - Brockport

Multispecialty Suite at Strong West
156 West Avenue, 3rd Floor
Brockport, NY 14420

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