A unique form of acquired renal cystic disease occurs commonly in the end stage kidneys of patients with chronic renal failure. Recent experience with 3 cases of acquired renal cystic disease has made us aware that the condition has significant urological implications. The pathogenesis of this disease is unknown but may be related to tubular obstruction, ischemia or the accumulation of toxic products. The diagnosis of acquired renal cystic disease is established by either ultrasound or computerized tomography, both of which demonstrate bilateral multiple small cysts scattered throughout the cortex and medulla of the contracted end stage kidney. Acquired renal cystic disease usually is asymptomatic but may be associated with either hemorrhage or neoplasia. Autopsy studies have revealed renal tumors in up to 45 per cent of the patients with acquired renal cystic disease. These tumors usually are small but our case 3 was a renal cell carcinoma that measured 4 cm. in diameter. Also there have been other recent reports of large tumors and deaths of metastatic renal carcinoma in patients with acquired renal cystic disease. Patients with chronic renal failure should undergo periodic examination of the native kidneys by either ultrasound or computerized tomography. It may be difficult to distinguish benign from malignant lesions radiologically, and nephrectomy may be indicated when the diagnosis is uncertain.
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