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Nat Rev Nephrol. 2015 Oct;11(10):589-98. doi: 10.1038/nrneph.2015.128. Epub 2015 Aug 11.

Vascular complications in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, Tufts Medical Center, 800 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111, USA.
Department of Neurosurgery, Cerebrovascular and Endovascular Division, Tufts Medical Center, 800 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111, USA.
Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, University of Maryland, 720 Rutland Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is the most common hereditary kidney disease. Relentless cyst growth substantially enlarges both kidneys and culminates in renal failure. Patients with ADPKD also have vascular abnormalities; intracranial aneurysms (IAs) are found in ∼10% of asymptomatic patients during screening and in up to 25% of those with a family history of IA or subarachnoid haemorrhage. As the genes responsible for ADPKD—PKD1 and PKD2—have complex integrative roles in mechanotransduction and intracellular calcium signalling, the molecular basis of IA formation might involve focal haemodynamic conditions exacerbated by hypertension and altered flow sensing. IA rupture results in substantial mortality, morbidity and poor long-term outcomes. In this Review, we focus mainly on strategies for screening, diagnosis and treatment of IAs in patients with ADPKD. Other vascular aneurysms and anomalies—including aneurysms of the aorta and coronary arteries, cervicocephalic and thoracic aortic dissections, aortic root dilatation and cerebral dolichoectasia—are less common in this population, and the available data are insufficient to recommend screening strategies. Treatment decisions should be made with expert consultation and be based on a risk-benefit analysis that takes into account aneurysm location and morphology as well as patient age and comorbidities.

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