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Multicystic Dysplastic Kidney

Multicystic Dysplastic Kidney is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Pediatric Consult.

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  • Multicystic dysplastic kidney (MCDK) disease is the most severe type of cystic renal dysplasia and is characterized by multiple, noncommunicating cysts which are divided by dysplastic tissue.
  • In general, there is no functioning renal tissue in a MCDK.
  • Involutes over time (usually within the first 5 years)


  • Incidence is 0.3 to 1 in 1,000 live births
    • Most cases are detected antenatally.
  • Affects boys > girls
  • Left kidney > right kidney
    • Usually unilateral but can be bilateral


  • Initial growth of the ureteric bud is normal; then renal development halts at a later stage.
  • Histology shows disordered renal tissue with areas of undifferentiated mesenchymal cells, abnormal differentiation (i.e., cartilage), rare nephrons.
  • Etiology unknown; recent studies suggest genetic cause.

Commonly Associated Conditions

Associated anomalies of contralateral GU tract include the following:

  • Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR), most common, occurs in ~25%.
  • Renal hypoplasia
  • Ureterocele
  • Ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction
  • Genital anomalies

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Cabana, Michael D., editor. "Multicystic Dysplastic Kidney." 5-Minute Pediatric Consult, 8th ed., Wolters Kluwer, 2019. Pediatrics Central, peds.unboundmedicine.com/pedscentral/view/5-Minute-Pediatric-Consult/618136/all/Multicystic_Dysplastic_Kidney.
Multicystic Dysplastic Kidney. In: Cabana MD, ed. 5-Minute Pediatric Consult. 8th ed. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. https://peds.unboundmedicine.com/pedscentral/view/5-Minute-Pediatric-Consult/618136/all/Multicystic_Dysplastic_Kidney. Accessed April 21, 2019.
Multicystic Dysplastic Kidney. (2019). In Cabana, M. D. (Ed.), 5-Minute Pediatric Consult. Available from https://peds.unboundmedicine.com/pedscentral/view/5-Minute-Pediatric-Consult/618136/all/Multicystic_Dysplastic_Kidney
Multicystic Dysplastic Kidney [Internet]. In: Cabana MD, editors. 5-Minute Pediatric Consult. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. [cited 2019 April 21]. Available from: https://peds.unboundmedicine.com/pedscentral/view/5-Minute-Pediatric-Consult/618136/all/Multicystic_Dysplastic_Kidney.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Multicystic Dysplastic Kidney ID - 618136 ED - Cabana,Michael D, BT - 5-Minute Pediatric Consult UR - https://peds.unboundmedicine.com/pedscentral/view/5-Minute-Pediatric-Consult/618136/all/Multicystic_Dysplastic_Kidney PB - Wolters Kluwer ET - 8 DB - Pediatrics Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -