Polycystic Kidney Disease Care

If you have polycystic kidney disease (PKD), you need an experienced team to guide you through diagnosis and treatment. Welcome to the forefront of PKD care at our Center of Excellence.

UC San Diego Health's comprehensive PKD program for adults — led by Dr. Pranav Garimella — is part of UC San Diego Health's Kidney Care (Nephrology) program. Our team is here to provide outstanding care tailored to your unique needs.

Polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disorder affecting the kidney and other organs, can be challenging. While there’s no cure, lifestyle changes and medical therapies can slow disease progression. Choosing the right health care provider is a crucial decision. Depend on us to help you with the latest medical advances on your journey towards a healthier life.

Nationally Recognized Center of Excellence

As part of the only academic health system in San Diego County, our doctors provide state-of-the-art clinical care and conduct research to develop new therapies for kidney disease.

Our program proudly holds the Center of Excellence designation from the PKD Foundation. This isn't just a recognition — it's a symbol of our commitment to setting the bar higher for patient-centered care and groundbreaking kidney research. UC San Diego Health is the only designated PKD Center of Excellence for adult care in San Diego County.

This distinction means you'll receive top-tier, compassionate care from a team of experts in various specialties, ensuring access to innovative therapies and clinical trials. Our patient navigation team will coordinate our full range of services customized for you.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Polycystic Kidney Disease Symptoms

Polycystic kidney disease is the most common inherited kidney disorder in the world. The most common type of PKD is autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease — also known as ADPKD — which accounts for 90% of all cases.

PKD is a rare type of chronic kidney disease that causes fluid-filled cysts to grow in your kidneys, enlarging and damaging them over time and leading to kidney failure. It can also affect other organs and cause serious health issues, such as cysts in the liver, blood vessel problems, brain aneurysms and hypertension (high blood pressure).

It's possible to have PKD for years without realizing it until the development of symptoms, typically between ages 30 and 40. The symptoms can include:

  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Chronic headaches
  • Chronic pain in the back or side
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney failure
  • Kidney stones
  • Kidney infections
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs)

Polycystic Kidney Disease Evaluation and Diagnosis

Early detection is vital in managing PKD. Before determining the proper course of treatment, we thoroughly assess your condition and needs.

Our expert nephrologists (kidney specialists) use the most up-to-date diagnostic options — including imaging tools such as ultrasound, MRI and CT scans — to accurately diagnose and monitor the progression of this disease. We may also recommend genetic testing for polycystic kidney disease, if needed, to check for mutated genes that cause the disease.

Adult Polycystic Kidney Disease Treatment

We provide comprehensive and customized care for individuals over age 18 with polycystic kidney disease.

Currently, PKD is not preventable, and there’s no cure. If the disease is left untreated, patients may need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. We aim to slow disease progression, prevent associated complications and manage symptoms.

At our Center of Excellence, we understand the importance of working together with you to create a personalized treatment plan. Using medical therapies to pain relief and help with lifestyle changes, we focus on your comfort and long-term follow-up and recovery.

Treatment options include:

Clinical Trials for Kidney Disease

UC San Diego Health nephrologists are actively researching ways to improve treatment options for polycystic kidney disease. By joining a clinical trial, you may receive a new kidney treatment before it is available to the public. Talk to your doctor about whether a clinical trial could be right for you.

Learn More About Clinical Trials


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