Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) can sometimes lead to potentially serious complications in other parts of the body besides the kidneys.
Complications associated with polycystic kidney disease include:
Many people with ADPKD develop cysts in other organs, as well as in their liver. Cysts that develop in the liver don't usually disrupt normal liver function, but they can sometimes become infected and/or cause symptoms such as:
Abdominal (tummy) pain
Abdominal swelling and bloating
In rare cases, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes from liver damage)
High blood pressure.
Elevated blood pressure is a common complication of polycystic kidney disease. Untreated, high blood pressure can cause further damage to your kidneys and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Loss of kidney function.
Progressive loss of kidney function is one of the most serious complications of polycystic kidney disease. Nearly half of those with the disease have kidney failure by age 60.
Polycystic kidney disease can interfere with the ability of your kidneys to keep wastes from building to toxic levels, a condition called uremia. As the disease worsens, end-stage kidney (renal) failure may result, necessitating ongoing kidney dialysis or a transplant to prolong your life.
Pregnancy is successful for most women with polycystic kidney disease. In some cases, however, women may develop a life-threatening disorder called preeclampsia. Those most at risk are women who have high blood pressure before they become pregnant.
Aneurysm in the brain.
A balloon-like bulge in a blood vessel (aneurysm) in your brain can cause bleeding (hemorrhage) if it ruptures. People with polycystic kidney disease have a higher risk of aneurysm, especially those younger than age 50. The risk is higher if you have a family history of aneurysm or if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure.
Heart valve abnormalities.
As many as one in four adults with polycystic kidney disease develop mitral valve prolapse. When this happens, the valve no longer closes properly, which allows blood to leak backward.
Weaknesses and pouches or sacs in the wall of the colon (diverticulosis) may develop in people with polycystic kidney disease.