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Kidney anatomy
Kidney anatomy


Kidney cyst with gallstones, CT scan
Kidney cyst with gallstones, CT scan


Kidney - blood and urine flow
Kidney - blood and urine flow


Definition:

Medullary cystic kidney disease (MCKD) is a hereditary disorder in which cysts in the center of each kidney cause the kidneys to gradually lose their ability to work.



Alternative Names:

Familial juvenile nephrophthisis; Senior-Loken syndrome



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Medullary cystic kidney disease (MCKD) is very similar to the childhood disease familial juvenile nephronophthisis (NPH). Both lead to scarring of the kidney and formation of fluid-filled cavities (cysts) in the deeper parts of the kidney.

In these conditions, the kidneys don't concentrate the urine enough, leading to excessive urine production and loss of sodium.

MCKD occurs in older patients and is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern. NPH occurs in young children and is usually due to autosomal recessive inheritance.

NPH may be associated with non-kidney features (like eye problems), while MCKD is limited to the kidneys.



Symptoms:

Early in the disease, symptoms may include:

Late in the disease, symptoms of kidney failure may develop, which include:

  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Decreased alertness
  • Delirium
  • Drowsiness
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Extreme sleepiness (lethargy)
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent hiccups
  • General ill feeling
  • Generalized itching
  • Headache
  • Increased skin pigmentation (skin may appear yellow or brown)
  • Muscle twitching or muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Pale skin
  • Reduced sensation in the hands, feet, or other areas
  • Seizures
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Vomiting blood or blood in the stool
  • Weakness


Signs and tests:

Laboratory tests that may be done include:

  • 24-hour urine volume
  • Blood pressure measurement (may be low)
  • BUN (blood urea nitrogen)
  • Complete blood count
  • Creatinine level and creatinine clearance
  • Urine specific gravity (will be low)

The following tests can help diagnose this condition:



Treatment:

There is no cure for this disease. At first, treatment focuses on controlling symptoms, reducing complications, and slowing the progression of the disease. Because of the loss of water and salt, the patient will need to drink plenty of fluids and take salt supplements to avoid dehydration.

As the disease gets worse, kidney failure develops. Treatment may involve medications and diet changes to limit foods containing phosphorus and potassium. Dialysis and a kidney transplant may be needed. For detailed information on treatment, see the articles on chronic kidney failure and end-stage kidney disease .



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

Most persons with MCKD reach end-stage kidney disease between the ages of 30 and 50. Lifelong treatment may control the symptoms of chronic kidney failure.



Complications:

Calling your health care provider:

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have any symptoms of medullary cystic disease.



Prevention:

This is an inherited disorder, but the way it is inherited varies. Prevention may not be possible.




Review Date: 10/22/2007
Reviewed By: Robert Mushnick, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Nephrology, SUNY Downstate Health Center, Brooklyn, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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