Skip to Main Content

Cystic Kidneys


Call or click for an in-person
or virtual visit.

Call us at


Insurance Plans

View a list of insurance plans accepted at the University of Miami Health System.

Cystic kidneys, also known as polycystic kidney disease or PKD, are an inherited kidney disorder that’s passed down in families. Polycystic kidney disease causes fluid-filled cysts to form in the kidneys, which may impair kidney function and eventually lead to renal (kidney) failure.

PKD doesn’t usually have any symptoms until the cysts are half an inch in diameter or larger, so it often goes undiagnosed for years. Symptoms of cystic kidneys may include:

University of Miami Health System pediatric nephrologists have the expertise to diagnose PKD at the earliest stages and provide the latest treatments. Your child receives care from a highly skilled team that’s focused on their health and comfort.


Physical Exam
Your child’s doctor performs a thorough physical exam to help diagnose cystic kidneys.

Imaging Tests
Your child may have an imaging test to give their doctor a closer look at their kidneys, such as an ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).


Your child may be prescribed pain or blood pressure medicines to help manage the symptoms of PKD. If your child has a UTI, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection.

Diet Modifications
When the kidneys aren't working well, sodium can accumulate in the blood and cause fluid retention. This causes swelling and raises your child's blood pressure, so your child needs to follow a low-sodium diet. Your child's care team will educate you about lowering dietary sodium and other recommended changes.

In some instances, children need surgery to drain the cysts and relieve symptoms of polycystic kidney disease.

Advanced PKD that leads to kidney failure may require dialysis, or the work of a machine to take over normal kidney function.

Kidney Transplant
Advanced PKD that causes kidney failure may require a kidney transplant.

Why Choose UHealth? 

Recognized for excellence in treating kidney conditions. We’ve been recognized for our expertise in dealing with acute renal replacement therapies in young children and infants, as well as the management of severe urinary tract obstruction in developing fetuses and in newborns. We work closely with our highly skilled pediatric urology team to deliver comprehensive, multidisciplinary care for your child.

In 2016, the state of Florida renewed our designation as a Comprehensive Chronic Kidney Failure Center (CCKFC). We are one of only three such centers in the state. Our program has consistently ranked among the nation’s top pediatric nephrology programs for the past nine years by U.S. News & World Report. We’re proud to have received the best rank in the state of Florida.

Pediatric Dialysis Unit provides kid-friendly care. Our Pediatric Dialysis Unit is one of the largest in the nation solely dedicated to children. We have eight hemodialysis stations, and our highly skilled nursing staff provides more than 3,000 treatments a year. Our pediatric nephrologists monitor each child to ensure they’re responding well to dialysis treatment, and we hold monthly multidisciplinary patient reviews in accordance with national guidelines. We also help connect children and families with essential psychosocial support during their treatment.

Pair Donor Exchange Program for kidney transplant. If your child needs a kidney transplant, we’re experts in transplant and follow-up care. Our Pair Donor Exchange Program can help shorten your child’s wait time for a kidney. This program increases the opportunity for children who are incompatible with a majority of donor kidneys to be transplanted. Because the child receives a kidney from a living donor, they will usually have a better outcome.

Annual Pediatric Nephrology Seminar held every March. Celebrating our 45th year in 2018, this unique international gathering of nephrology specialists is an important forum for exchanging the latest innovations and research findings in pediatric nephrology. Pediatric and adult nephrologists, pediatricians, internists, general practitioners, pediatric urologists, and transplant surgeons from throughout the United States and the world attend this annual event.

Questions? We're here to help.

Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.