Medullary sponge kidney

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Medullary sponge kidney

Question

What is medullary sponge kidney disease?

Donna
Nebraska

Answer

Medullary sponge kidney is a rare abnormality of small drainage tubes in the kidney. It's present at birth (congenital), but there is no clear evidence that the disorder is genetic. The cause isn't known. Medullary sponge kidney usually doesn't cause problems until adulthood.

Medullary sponge kidney is characterized by widening of some of the drainage tubes (distal tubules and collecting ducts), which slows the normal flow of urine. This condition typically causes no signs or symptoms. When present, signs and symptoms may include:

  • Kidney stones
  • Recurrent kidney infections
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)

A doctor may confirm a diagnosis of medullary sponge kidney by X-ray of the kidneys after injection with contrast dye (excretory urogram). A renal ultrasound or computerized tomography (CT) scan may also be used. There's no specific treatment for this condition. Treatment is directed at managing its signs and symptoms.

Last Updated: 04/06/2006
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