Aim: To provide a definitive evaluation of the prevalence of simple renal and hepatic cysts using spiral computed tomography (CT).
Patients and methods: Contrast-enhanced abdominal CT studies from 617 patients (295 women, 322 men) attending for investigations unrelated to renal or hepatic pathology were included. The number of renal cysts, their location and the diameter of the largest cyst were recorded. Hepatic cysts were recorded as being either present or absent.
Results: Two hundred and fifty-four patients (41%) were found to have simple renal cysts and 110 patients were found to have simple hepatic cysts (18%). Both renal and hepatic cysts became more common with age. Renal cysts were significantly more common at all ages in men (p=0.001), and increased in both size (p=0.02) and number (p<0.05) with age.
Conclusion: A major discrepancy has, until now, existed between autopsy prevalence of renal cysts and prevalence as reported by in-vivo third-generation CT or sonography studies. Using newer spiral CT machines, we have generated prevalence data closer to post-mortem findings. We have also shown a significant, but age dependent, association between the presence of simple hepatic and simple renal cysts (p=0.001)