New clinic for kidney disease offers specialized, comprehensive care


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Vishal Patel, M.D. Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine

UT Southwestern’s Division of Nephrology has opened a dedicated Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Clinic in Dallas – one of only a few in the state.

UT Southwestern faculty nephrologists Vishal Patel, M.D. (program Director), Ronak Lakhia, M.D., and Ramesh Saxena, M.D., Ph.D., provide specialized care to PKD patients in the Clinic. They are devoted to working with patients diagnosed with PKD throughout their treatment journey.

“PKD patients have unique sets of medical issues that require a multidisciplinary approach,” Dr. Saxena says. “The goal of the PKD Clinic is to provide comprehensive care by a team of expert physicians familiar with PKD management.”

The Clinic offers genetic counseling, pain management, surgical treatment options, stone risk management, advanced imaging, and nutrition and lifestyle counseling.

While the Clinic is designed to serve the PKD population, it also is a resource to regional nephrologists. UT Southwestern offers consults for nephrologists and accepts referrals for patients with highly progressed disease, including those in need of a kidney transplant.

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Ronak Lakhia, M.D. Instructor of Internal Medicine

The most common genetic disease

PKD is a genetic disease that causes uncontrolled growth of cysts in one or both kidneys, which can lead to kidney failure. It is, in fact, the most common genetic disease of all, affecting one in 1,000 people.

Depending on the type of mutation, treatment almost always involves improving lifestyle and diet. The disease can cause many complications, including high blood pressure and loss of kidney function.

The majority of patients diagnosed with PKD are between the ages of 20 and 40 years old, with no real symptoms except for back pain, Dr. Saxena notes. A sonogram can determine if a patient has cysts on one or both kidneys.

Virtually everyone with PKD will develop cysts, and the size of the cysts can vary from small to larger than the kidney itself. Depending on the size and complications, some cysts require surgery to drain or remove them, or even removal of a kidney.

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Ramesh Saxena, M.D., Ph.D. Professor of Internal Medicine

Roughly half of patients diagnosed with PKD will ultimately need a kidney transplant, according to Dr. Saxena. Collaboration with UT Southwestern transplant surgeons for advanced cases provides added benefit to the program, he notes.

All kidney transplant patients receive surgical attention at UT Southwestern’s state-of-the-art William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital. 

Dr. Saxena adds, “UT Southwestern is a leading center for PKD research, and part of our mission is to develop novel therapies for treatment. As a result, patients attending the PKD Clinic will have the opportunity to participate in research studies and clinical trials involving novel or emerging therapies not available elsewhere.”

Request an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with a physician in the Polycystic Kidney Disease Clinic, call 214-645-8300.