May also be called: Kidney Dysplasia; Multicystic Dysplastic Kidney; MCDK
Renal dysplasia (REE-nul dis-PLAY-zhee-uh) is a condition in which one or both
of a baby's kidneys develop
abnormally in the womb, often causing cysts (fluid-filled sacs) to replace normal
More to Know
Kidneys filter waste products from the blood to
form urine (pee), which flows from the kidneys to the bladder through thin tubes called
ureters. Normally, when a fetus is developing, ureters grow into kidneys and branch
out to form the network that collects urine.
With renal dysplasia, this process is disrupted, and urine can't flow out of the
affected kidney as it's supposed to. Instead, the urine collects inside the kidney
and forms cysts. Renal dysplasia can be related to a genetic
disorder, or prescription or illegal drugs used by a mother during pregnancy.
Usually, renal dysplasia is found in only one kidney, but in some cases, both kidneys
may be affected. When only one kidney is involved, babies usually grow normally and
may have no symptoms or health problems. Symptoms that can occur include problems
with kidney function, urinary tract infections
(UTIs), and, rarely, high blood
When renal dysplasia affects both kidneys, babies generally don't survive pregnancy;
those who do need dialysis treatment and a kidney
transplant early in life.
Keep in Mind
Most kids with renal dysplasia in only one kidney require no treatment and don't
experience any problems or complications as a result of the condition. The unaffected
kidney can take over and effectively do the work of both kidneys. However, these children
still need to be closely monitored for UTIs and high blood pressure, both of which
can damage the healthy kidney.
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