Polycystic Kidney Disease Diagnosis
When making a polycystic kidney disease diagnosis, your doctor will ask a number of questions related to your medical history. Among other things, these questions may have to do with medications you are currently taking, other medical conditions you may have, and whether you have a family history of any conditions, including polycystic kidney disease. Your doctor will also perform a physical exam and order certain tests, which can include ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography scan (CT scan), and genetic testing.
In order to make a polycystic kidney disease diagnosis, your doctor will ask a number of questions related to your medical history. This medical history will include questions about current symptoms, other medical conditions you may have, medications you are currently taking, and a family history of any conditions (including polycystic kidney disease). The doctor will also perform a physical exam and order certain tests. Some of these tests can include:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Computerized tomography scan (CT scan)
- Genetic testing.
In most cases of autosomal dominant PKD, the person's physical condition appears normal for many years, even decades, and the disease can go unnoticed. Physical checkups, along with blood and urine tests, may not lead to diagnosis. Some people live for many years without knowing they have autosomal dominant PKD, because of its slow, undetected progression.
Once cysts have formed, however, diagnosis is possible with imaging technology. Ultrasound, which passes sound waves through the body to create a picture of the kidneys, is the most frequently used imaging procedure for diagnosing this condition. Ultrasound imaging employs no injected dyes or radiation and is safe for all patients, including pregnant women. It can also detect cysts in the kidneys of a fetus.
To diagnose autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (PKD), a doctor typically observes three or more cysts in the kidneys by using an ultrasound. The diagnosis of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease is strengthened by a family history of autosomal dominant PKD, and the presence of cysts in other organs.