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Kidney Enlargement from Cysts Can Be Measured Reliably

Enlargement progresses predictably and is linked to renal function decline

WEDNESDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) -- Kidney enlargement caused by the growing cysts in patients with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is measurable and predictable, and is associated with a decline in renal function, according to a study in the May 18 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Jared J. Grantham, M.D., of the Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City, and colleagues used magnetic resonance imaging to measure the change in total kidney volume, and total cyst volume with iothalamate clearance in 241 ADPKD patients over a period of three years. Total kidney volume increased by a mean of 204 ml among 214 patients over the course of the study period, while total cyst volume increased by 218 ml among 210 patients.

"Kidney enlargement resulting from the expansion of cysts in patients with ADPKD is continuous and quantifiable and is associated with the decline of renal function," the authors conclude. "Higher rates of kidney enlargement are associated with a more rapid decrease in renal function."

In an accompanying editorial, Ronald Perrone, M.D., of the Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, notes that the study "documents that the growth of kidneys and cysts in patients with ADPKD who have well-preserved kidney function is predictable and can be measured in a reliable and reproducible fashion. The availability of this volumetric method may provide a timely way to evaluate a number of potential therapies that may slow the rate of deterioration of renal function in ADPKD."

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