A doctor may suspect ACKD based on a patient’s history and symptoms. To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may order one or more imaging procedures:
Ultrasound. In an ultrasound, or sonogram, a technician glides a device, called a transducer, over the abdomen. The transducer sends harmless sound waves into the body and catches them as they bounce off the internal organs to create a picture on a monitor. Abdominal ultrasounds are used to evaluate the size and shape of the kidneys.
Computerized tomography (CT) scan. CT scans use a combination of x rays and computer technology to create three-dimensional images. Sometimes a contrast dye is injected into the patient to better see the structure of the kidneys. CT scans require the patient to lie on a table that slides through a donut-shaped scanning machine. CT scans can help identify cysts and tumors in the kidneys.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI machines use radio waves and magnets to produce detailed pictures of internal organs and tissues. No exposure to radiation occurs. With most MRI machines, the patient lies on a table that slides into a tunnel that may be open-ended or closed at one end. Some newer machines are designed to allow the patient to lie in a more open space. Like CT scans, MRIs can help identify cysts and tumors.
Images of the kidneys may help the health care provider distinguish ACKD from PKD.
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