Horseshoe kidney occurs in about one in 500 children. It occurs during fetal development as the kidneys move into their normal position in the flank area (area around the side, just above the waist). With horseshoe kidney, however, as the kidneys of the fetus rise from the pelvic area, they fuse together at the lower end or base. By fusing, they form a "U" shape, which gives it the name "horseshoe."
One-third of individuals with horseshoe kidney will have at least one other anomaly or complication involving the cardiovascular system, the central nervous system, or the genitourinary system, such as the following:
Horseshoe kidney can occur alone or in combination with other disorders.
About one-third of children will have no symptoms. One-third of individuals with horseshoe kidney will have another anomaly or other complication involving the cardiovascular, nervous, or genitourinary system. The symptoms of horseshoe kidney may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's doctor for a diagnosis.
In a child without symptoms, diagnosis or treatment may not be necessary. If your child is having any of the mentioned complications, your child's doctor may order one or more of the following diagnostic tests:
At Children’s National in Washington, DC, our pediatric urologists provide comprehensive care for disorders affecting reproductive and urinary organs.
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Craig Peters, MD, is the chief of Surgical Technology and Translation and Principal Investigator in the bioengineering initiative at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation.
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