Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a genetic condition in which multiple fluid-filled sacs or cysts develop throughout the kidneys. These cysts vary in size and number, and may affect the ability of the kidneys to function. PKD cysts may eventually cause kidney damage if they become very large and numerous.
PKD is the fourth leading cause of kidney failure in North America. It is estimated that approximately 5% of patients requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant have PKD.
Depending on the type of PKD, symptoms usually begin either in early adulthood, between the ages of 30 and 40 years, or in infancy or early childhood. PKD can be detected by ultrasound. Both men and women of all races seem to be affected equally.