The Association of Combined Total Kidney and Liver Volume with Pain and Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Patients with Later Stage Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease

Am J Nephrol. 2017;46(3):239-248. doi: 10.1159/000479436. Epub 2017 Sep 8.


Background: There is an ongoing debate if and how kidney and liver volume are associated with pain and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) patients. Since both kidney and liver volume could interact, we investigated whether combined total kidney and liver volume had stronger associations with ADPKD-related pain and GI symptoms than the volumes of the organs separately.

Methods: We used baseline data from the DIPAK-1 study, which included ADPKD patients with an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) between 30 and 60 mL/min/1.73 m2. MR imaging was performed to measure height-adjusted total kidney volume (hTKV), height-adjusted total liver volume (hTLV) and the combination of both (height-adjusted total kidney liver volume [hTKLV]).

Results: Three hundred nine ADPKD patients were included with a mean age of 48 ± 7 years, 53% female, eGFR 50 ± 11 mL/min/1.73 m2 and median hTKV, hTLV and hTKLV of 1,095 (758-1,669), 1,173 (994-1,523) and 2,496 (1,972-3,352) mL/m, respectively. ADPKD-related pain and GI symptoms were present in, respectively, 27.5 and 61.2% of patients. Gender was no effect modifier in the association between kidney and/or liver volume, and symptom burden, indicating that all models could be tested in the overall study population. hTKLV and hTLV were significantly associated with pain and GI symptoms, whereas hTKV was not. Model testing revealed that the associations of pain and GI symptoms with hTKLV were significantly stronger than with hTKV (p = 0.04 and p = 0.04, respectively) but not when compared to hTLV (p = 0.2 and p = 0.5, respectively).

Conclusions: This study indicates that combined kidney and liver volume was associated with the presence and severity of pain and GI symptoms in ADPKD, with a more prominent role for hTLV than for hTKV.

Keywords: Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease; Gastrointestinal symptoms; Pain; Polycystic liver disease; Total kidney liver volume.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / etiology*
  • Adult
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology*
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Kidney / diagnostic imaging
  • Kidney / pathology*
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver / pathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological
  • Organ Size
  • Pain Measurement
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / complications*
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / diagnostic imaging
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / pathology