Prenatal sonographic patterns in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease: a multicenter study

Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2004 Jul;24(1):55-61. doi: 10.1002/uog.1098.


Objective: To determine whether a specific prenatal sonographic pattern can be identified for autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) and if so whether it would be helpful in orienting complementary analysis, properly counseling parents and adapting pregnancy management.

Methods: A retrospective multicenter study was conducted in four prenatal diagnostic centers. The records of fetuses with a prenatal ultrasound examination revealing abnormal kidneys and with a final diagnosis of ADPKD were analyzed. Ultrasound analysis included: amount of amniotic fluid, bladder size, renal length, presence or absence of renal cysts and size of renal pelves, and was focused on parenchyma echogenicity and status of corticomedullary differentiation. Postnatal follow-up was reviewed.

Results: Of the 27 patients included in the study, 25 had hyperechogenic renal cortex and 20 had hypoechogenic medulla resulting in increased corticomedullary differentiation (CMD). In six cases, the medulla was hyperechogenic leading to absent or decreased CMD. One patient had normal cortical echogenicity and CMD. Renal cysts were present during the prenatal period in four patients (at 22 weeks in one case and after 30 weeks in three cases). In 12 patients, the cysts appeared after birth (within the first 6 months of postnatal life in 10 cases and by the age of 1 year in two cases). Elevated blood pressure was observed in only two cases and moderate chronic renal failure in one case.

Conclusion: We have described the sonographic presentation in fetuses with ADPKD: moderately enlarged hyperechogenic kidneys with increased CMD. Although not specific to ADPKD, these findings should prompt familial screening. Other prenatal sonographic features (absent or decreased CMD and cortical cysts) are less frequent.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Amniotic Fluid
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Kidney / diagnostic imaging*
  • Kidney / embryology
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / diagnostic imaging*
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / embryology
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / genetics
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal*
  • Urinary Bladder / diagnostic imaging
  • Urinary Bladder / embryology