Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease: MR imaging evaluation using current techniques

Maria Antonietta Mosetti, Polytimi Leonardou, Tomofumi Motohara, Masayuki Kanematsu, Diane Armao, Richard C. Semelka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the MR imaging findings of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease using current imaging techniques. Materials and Methods: We reviewed our five-year experience with MR imaging of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) to determine the spectrum of appearance of kidney disease, the occurrence of cysts in other abdominal organs, the size and number of cysts in the kidneys and other organs, and the association with other benign or malignant disease. Thirty patients (17 men and 13 women, age range 30 to 88 years old) with ADPKD were included in this study. All patients were examined by MR imaging including T2-weighted single-shot echo-train spin-echo and pre- and post-gadolinium chelate spoiled gradient-echo imaging. Results: All kidneys were involved with multiple, varying sized cysts scattered throughout the parenchyma. Giant renal cysts (>8 cm) were associated with pain in the only two patients who possessed them. Hemorrhage in renal cysts was observed in all kidneys with a heterogeneous pattern of involvement on non-contrast T1- and T2-weighted images, reflecting hemorrhage of varying age. The mean kidney size for the right kidney was 17.4 cm in length, 10.3 cm in transverse, and 9.4 cm in antero-posterior diameter (AP); and for the left kidney, 15.9 cm in the length, 9.3 cm in the transverse, and 9.3 cm in AP diameter. Other organs involved included the liver (22 patients), the pancreas (three patients), with two of the above-mentioned patients having both liver and pancreas cysts, and the spleen (one patient) who had both liver and splenic cysts. Massive liver involvement with large cysts was associated with abdominal pain. Malignant disease was present in five patients, including two patients with renal cell carcinoma, one with bladder cancer, one with lung cancer, and one patient with anal adenocarcinoma. Comparison of pre and post-contrast T1-weighted images was essential to detect renal cancer. Conclusion: All kidneys in patients with ADPKD had extensive, varying-sized cysts and in all cases some cysts showed evidence of hemorrhage. The liver was the second most common organ to be involved with cystic disease, in 73% of patients. Large cysts in the kidneys and liver were associated with abdominal pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-215
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease
  • Kidney, cysts
  • Kidney, diseases
  • Kidney, MR
  • Renal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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