Horseshoe Kidney

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Horseshoe kidney is a condition that some children are born with in which the kidneys are connected together at the bottom and form a U shape. Horseshoe kidney generally does not cause any medical problems, but up to 30 percent of children with horseshoe kidney may develop a complication of the cardiovascular, nervous or genitourinary system.

Causes and Symptoms of Horseshoe Kidney

Horseshoe kidney develops in the womb at the time that the kidneys are moving into place within the body.

Most children with horseshoe kidney do not have any symptoms. Some children may be more likely to develop:

  • Kidney stones
  • Kidney cancer
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Hydronephrosis
  • Wilms tumor
  • Hydrocephaly
  • Spina bifida
  • Other conditions of the cardiovascular, digestive or skeletal systems

Your child may also experience:

  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Bruising in the mouth
  • Dehydration
  • High blood pressure
  • Pale skin
  • Swelling in the face, feet, ankles or other parts of the body (resulting from fluid buildup)

Diagnosis and Treatment at UVA

At UVA, your child’s doctor may perform or recommend:

  • Urinalysis
  • Blood tests
  • Kidney ultrasound
  • Voiding cystourethrogram
  • Intravenous pyelogram

Most children with horseshoe kidney do not need treatment, and there is no cure. Treatment is aimed at controlling symptoms of other complications that may develop.