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Unilateral multicystic dysplastic kidney: long term outcomes
  1. M Aslam,
  2. A R Watson,
  3. on behalf of the Trent & Anglia MCDK Study Group
  1. Children & Young People’s Kidney Unit Nottingham University Hospitals, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Prof. A R Watson
    Consultant Paediatric Nephrologist, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, City Hospital Campus, Hucknall Road, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK; judith.hayes{at}


Aims: To report the long term follow up of children with antenatally detected unilateral multicystic dysplastic kidney (MCDK) with documentation of complications, involution rate with time, and renal function at 10 years.

Methods: Data were retrieved from a prospective regional registry of patients with MCDK between 1985 and 2004. Children were followed using a common protocol of investigation with follow up ultrasound scans (USS) at 2 (165 patients), 5 (117 patients), and 10 years (43 patients).

Results: Serial USS showed that 33% of the MCDK kidneys had completely involuted at 2 years of age, 47% at 5 years, and 59% at 10 years. No patients developed hypertension, significant proteinuria, or malignancy, but two developed pelviureteric junction obstruction in the contralateral kidney. Twenty seven of 143 children (19%) had vesicoureteric reflux (VUR) (96% mild to moderate VUR) into the contralateral kidney with no difference in the incidence of urinary tract infections or renal scarring between those with or without VUR. The mean estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was 86.4 ml/min/1.73 m2 (range 48–125) in 31 of 43 patients followed to 10 years.

Conclusions: Conservative management of unilateral MCDK is justified with clinical review and infrequent USS but longer term follow up continues in the 41% still with renal remnants at 10 years and those with impaired GFR. It is suggested that the initial micturating cystogram is deferred unless abnormal USS features are present in the contralateral kidney or ureter.

  • GFR, glomerular filtration rate
  • MCDK, multicystic dysplastic kidney
  • MCUG, micturating cystourethrogram
  • PUJ, pelviureteric junction obstruction
  • USS, ultrasound scan
  • UTI, urinary tract infection
  • VUJ, vesicoureteric junction obstruction
  • VUR, vesicoureteric reflux
  • multicystic dysplastic kidney
  • vesicoureteric reflux
  • hypertension
  • antenatal abnormalitites

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