Cardiovascular abnormalities in autosomal-dominant polycystic kidney disease

Nat Rev Nephrol. 2009 Apr;5(4):221-8. doi: 10.1038/nrneph.2009.13.


Cardiovascular problems are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with autosomal-dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). Hypertension is a common early symptom of ADPKD, and occurs in approximately 60% of patients before renal function has become impaired. Hypertension is associated with an increased rate of progression to end-stage renal disease and is the most important potentially treatable variable in ADPKD. Left ventricular hypertrophy, which is a powerful, independent risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, also occurs frequently in patients with ADPKD. Both hypertension and left ventricular hypertrophy have important roles in cardiovascular complications in these individuals. Moreover, biventricular diastolic dysfunction, endothelial dysfunction, increased carotid intima-media thickness, and impaired coronary flow velocity reserve are present even in young patients with ADPKD who have normal blood pressure and well-preserved renal function. These findings suggest that cardiovascular involvement starts very early in the course of ADPKD. Intracranial and extracranial aneurysms and cardiac valvular defects are other potential cardiovascular problems in patients with ADPKD. Early diagnosis and treatment of hypertension, with drugs that block the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, has the potential to decrease the cardiovascular complications and slow the progression of renal disease in ADPKD.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / complications*
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / pathology
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / physiopathology
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / physiology
  • Risk Factors


  • Antihypertensive Agents