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Polycystic Kidney Disease in Children

Key Points About Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) in Children

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a genetic disorder that causes the growth of numerous fluid-filled cysts in the kidneys. These cysts can reduce kidney function, leading to kidney failure. When the kidneys fail to function, the only life-extending options are dialysis and kidney transplantation. PKD can also affect the liver, causing either liver cysts or liver scarring (fibrosis) depending on the type of PKD. PKD can also involve other organs of the body such as the heart and blood vessels.

Overall, PKD is the fourth leading cause of kidney failure and affects approximately 600,000 people in the United States, according to the National Kidney Foundation. PKD affects all racial and ethnic groups equally and affects children as well as adults. While there is no cure for PKD, recent clinical studies in adults have identified therapies that can slow the progression of the kidney disease. These therapies are not yet available for children.


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Types of Polycystic Kidney Disease

Autosomal Dominant PKD (ADPKD)

Autosomal Recessive PKD (ARPKD)

Inherited and Polycystic Kidney Diseases (IPKD) Program

This multidisciplinary program at Children's National Hospital provides integrated care for children with PKD by a team of highly skilled kidney, liver, growth, genetic and psychology specialists. In addition, we offer enrollment in child-focused ADPKD and ARPKD databases. For studies in rare diseases, like ADPKD and ARPKD, coordinating the collection of patient data and maintaining strict confidentiality about patient identities is critically important in advancing knowledge. Participation in these international PKD registries can be discussed with our team. Participation in ongoing PKD clinical trials can be discussed with our team.


Introduction to PKD: What should I know about PKD?

In this educational session pediatric nephrologist Ashima Gulati, M.D., Ph.D., provides an overview of PKD and its impact. Topics include the different forms of PKD, available treatments, and how to manage the disease.

This webinar recording was created by the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation (PKDF).

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Kidney Treatment at Children's National Hospital

The pediatric specialists in our nationally ranked nephrology program work to manage the full range of kidney diseases in children, including dialysis and kidney transplantation. Discover more about the treatments we offer.

Patient in hospital bed with nurse
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Invest in future cures for some of life's most devastating diseases. Give today to help more children grow up stronger.

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Meet the Providers Who Treat Polycystic Kidney Diseases

Departments that Treat Polycystic Kidney Disease

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Whether your infant has arrived prematurely or has a critical illness, the Children's National Hospital's top-ranked team assists in coordinating every service you and your baby need, including consultations, assessments, emergency treatments and continuing care.

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Inherited and Polycystic Kidney Disease Program

The IPKD Program consists of a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, genetic counselors, and nutrition and psychology specialists to serve the unique needs of children with various forms of genetic kidney disease.

Children's National nephrologist Asha Moudgil, M.D., listens to the heart of a little girl.


Learn how our highly skilled pediatric nephrology team works across divisions to manage the full range of kidney diseases in children, including dialysis and kidney transplantation.