Usually found during a prenatal ultrasound, a horseshoe kidney is a congenital defect of the urinary tract. It is a form of renal fusion malformation that occurs when two kidneys fuse together, usually during development. It is characterized by abnormal vascular supply and an altered renal axis.
Although it is considered a benign condition, horseshoe kidneys can develop complications. These include urinary tract infections, urinary stones, and hydronephrosis. The treatment for these problems depends on the age of the child and the severity of the condition. Some children may not need treatment at all, while others may require supportive care to help them manage their complications.
The presence of horseshoe kidneys increases the likelihood of urinary tract infections and vesicoureteral reflux, a condition in which the ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) is obstructed. These symptoms can be associated with other conditions, so it’s important to be treated for any symptoms. In addition, some patients with horseshoe kidneys may develop cancer. This condition is also called vesicoureteral renal neoplasm (VUR) and can occur in both males and females. It is also associated with kidney stones.
Treatment for horseshoe kidneys may involve medical management or surgical procedures. These procedures may not provide immediate relief for pain or symptoms. A 24-hour urine test may be used to identify stones that need treatment. This test will also help determine whether the child is at risk for kidney stone formation. If the child develops a stone, treatment may include a surgical procedure to remove the stone. However, the patient must be compliant with treatment.
Horseshoe kidneys can also be associated with other glomerular diseases. These conditions affect the small tubes of the kidney and the blood vessels in the kidney. Treatment includes medical management, antibiotics, and surgery. In some cases, a kidney biopsy is required to diagnose the underlying disease. However, the diagnosis rate is low due to structural abnormalities.
Because of the abnormalities in the kidney, it can be difficult to determine the exact cause of the disease. Some of the factors that can contribute to this condition include blunt abdominal trauma, narrow arterial forks, exposure to certain drugs during pregnancy, and teratogenic drugs. In some cases, a horseshoe kidney may be caused by the abnormal migration of nephrogenic cells across a primitive streak. Other factors include specific chromosomal disorders, such as Edward syndrome.
While there is no known cause for horseshoe kidneys, research has shown that the risk of developing a kidney cancer is increased in people with this condition. In fact, this condition is more common in men than women. It is also more common in patients with certain chromosomal disorders. Usually, the first sign of the disease is the presence of a urinary tract infection.
In addition to urinary tract infections and kidney stones, horseshoe kidneys can be associated with bowel injuries and hydronephrosis. A horseshoe kidney can also lead to an increased risk of nephrolithiasis, a condition in which stones form in the kidney. Patients with nephrolithiasis are less likely to be successful at removing the stones with shockwave lithotripsy. For patients who have a high risk of developing a stone, treatment may include percutaneous removal of the stone.