Skip to main content

Polycystic Kidney Disease

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is an inherited genetic disorder that affects the kidneys and, in some cases, the liver.

Request an appointment

PKD + your genes

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a genetic condition that is usually inherited from one or both parents to their child. Unfortunately, it does not skip a generation, and there is no known cure for PKD. However, there are ways to manage the condition and slow its progression through the use of medications and therapies.

Since PKD can affect your overall health in various ways, we provide personalized care to meet your individual needs. This includes access to new and promising therapies, genetic counseling, and pain management.

Klemens Meyer, MD, Director of Dialysis Services at Tufts Medical Center, attends to patient as he receives dialysis treatment at the outpatient clinic.
Find a doctor near me


Did you know that there are two different types of PKD? Both of these types cause a lot of cysts to grow inside your kidneys, sometimes even thousands of them. These cysts can also make your kidneys grow much larger than usual. Unfortunately, if there are too many cysts or they grow too large, your kidneys may get damaged.

Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD)

Often develops between ages 30 to 40 years old. Symptoms of ADPKD include:

  • Pain in your back and sides
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Blood in your urine
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Kidney stones
  • Impaired growth or failure to grow
Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD)

ARPKD is less common, but its symptoms and complications often are more serious. It frequently develops in childhood, and symptoms include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Trouble breathing
  • Internal bleeding
  • Chronic kidney disease or kidney failure
  • Liver problems


To help us better understand how your kidneys are functioning, we may recommend some imaging and laboratory tests depending on your PKD diagnosis. Don't worry, these tests are commonly ordered and will help us get a clearer picture of what's going on. Some of the tests that are usually ordered include:



We've helped many patients with medications like tolvaptan (Samsca) and we can help you too. Together, we will create a personalized treatment plan that may include a combination of different options, such as:

Anasuya Gunturi MD, PhD talks with patient at Lowell General Hospital's Women's Wellness Center clinic appointment.
Our locations

From regular office visits to inpatient stays, find the healthcare you need and deserve close to home.

Family physician Sarwada Tuladhar Jha, MD talking to patient during exam at a clinic appointment and inputting health information at the computer.
Our doctors + care team

Meet the doctors and care team devoted to supporting you every step of the way along your path to better health.

Understand what you may pay for care at Tufts Medicine with our price estimate tool.

Jump back to top