Acquired Cystic Kidney




Causes of Acquired Cystic Kidney Disease?

Dialysis filters out many, but not all, of the wastes that healthy kidneys remove. Researchers believe that an unidentified waste product not removed through dialysis causes cysts to form in the kidneys. Dialysis itself does not cause the cysts.

What is Acquired Cystic Kidney Disease?

Many people with chronic kidney disease develop ACKD, a condition in which the kidneys develop fluid-filled sacs called renal (kidney) cysts. ACKD occurs in children and adults. The cysts are more likely to develop in people who are on hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis. Kidney failure, not dialysis, causes the cysts. However, the risk of developing ACKD increases with the number of years a person is on dialysis.

  • About 20 percent of people starting dialysis treatments already have ACKD.
  • About 60 to 80 percent of people on dialysis for 4 years develop ACKD.
  • About 90 percent of people on dialysis for 8 years develop ACKD
In most cases, the cysts are harmless and require no treatment. Sometimes problems occur—including infection in the cyst, which may be associated with fever and back pain. Sometimes the cysts bleed and blood will appear in the urine. Blood in the urine should always be reported to a doctor.

Although doctors debate the exact percentage, somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of people with ACKD develop kidney tumors, which in some cases are cancerous.The rate of kidney cancer in people with ACKD is low, but it is higher than the rate in the general population.

Points to remember: Acquired Cystic Kidney Disease 

  • Acquired cystic kidney disease (ACKD) is a condition in which the kidneys develop many fluid-filled sacs called cysts.
  • ACKD is most common in people who have been on dialysis for several years.
  • ACKD differs from polycystic kidney disease (PKD). People with PKD often have a family history of PKD. PKD is associated with enlarged kidneys and cyst formation in other parts of the body. In ACKD, the kidneys are normal sized or smaller and cysts do not form in other parts of the body.
  • Between 10 and 20 percent of people with ACKD develop kidney tumors, which in some cases are cancerous.
  • ACKD often has no symptoms.
  • If tumors are suspected, a person may need regular examinations to monitor the kidneys for cancer.
  • In rare cases, surgery is used to stop cysts from bleeding and to remove tumors or suspected tumors.
  • ACKD usually disappears after a person receives a transplanted kidney.