The Open Urology & Nephrology Journal




ISSN: 1874-303X ― Volume 12, 2019

A Complicated “Simple” Renal Cyst



Daphne M. Harrington1, *, Alexa S. Meara2, Tushar Vaccharajani3 , Tejas Desai4
1 Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, University of Virginia, USA
2 Division of General Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, USA
3 Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Sailsbury VA Medical Center, Salisbury, NC, USA
4 Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Internal Medicine, The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, USA

Abstract

Background:

Simple renal cysts are usually asymptomatic and benign. Rarely, symptoms and complications can develop from local mass effect which is illustrated by this case.

Case Presentation:

77 year old Caucasian male presents with abdominal pain for five days. Abdominal exam was diffusely tender, markedly distended, tympanic with absent bowel sounds. His work-up included an abdominal x-ray showing a colonic obstruction and abdominal CT showing a large 27 cm renal cyst. Drainage of the renal cyst resolved obstructive symptoms.

Conclusion:

A simple renal cyst should not be overlooked as the reason for acute abdominal pain. Simple renal cysts, though benign are not without complications.

Keywords:: Cystic kidney diseases, intestinal obstruction, abdominal pain, colon.


Article Information


Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2012
Volume: 5
First Page: 35
Last Page: 39
Publisher Id: TOUNJ-5-35
DOI: 10.2174/1874303X01205010035

Article History:

Received Date: 19/9/2012
Revision Received Date: 18/10/2012
Acceptance Date: 18/10/2012
Electronic publication date: 16 /11/2012
Collection year: 2014

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© Harrington et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.


* Address correspondence to this author at P.O. Box 800133, Charlottesville, VA 22908-0133, USA; Tel: (434) 924-5124; Fax: (434) 924-5848; E-mail: daphneharrington@virginia.edu




INTRODUCTION

Simple renal cysts are usually found incidentally with the increasing use of abdominal diagnostic ultrasonography (U/S) or computed tomography (CT) for other causes. A distinct characteristic is their increased occurrence with aging. Autopsy studies report almost half of people older than 50 years of age have one or more renal cysts. They are usually unilateral, solitary and asymptomatic. We report a case in which a simple cyst deviated from its common set of features [1Eknoyan G. A clinical view of simple and complex renal cysts. J Am Soc Nephrol 2009; 20: 1874-6.-4Terada N, Arai Y, Kinukawa N, Terai A. The 10-Year natural history of simple renal cysts. Urology 2008; 71: 7-11.].

CASE PRESENTATION

This case is a 77 year old Caucasian male with a history of chronic abdominal pain due to a 15 cm renal cyst (last measured 7 years ago) and stage 4 chronic kidney disease with a recent AV fistula placed in preparation for dialysis who presents with diffuse abdominal pain for five days. The abdominal pain gradually worsened and was diffuse in location but worse in the lower quadrants. The pain was aggravated by eating and there were no alleviating factors. The patient reported a non-productive cough, shortness of breath at rest and exertion (at baseline), poor appetite, abdominal distention over the past week, diarrhea and no bowel movements for the past two days, dysuria, lower extremity swelling, easy bruising, and dizziness. The patient denied vision changes, fevers, chills, muscle aches, chest pain, palpitations, nausea, vomiting, melena, hematochezia,

tenesmus, flatus, hematuria, and change in urinary frequency, weakness and skin changes.

On admission, the patient was afebrile with blood pressure of 146/70 mmHg, heart rate of 122/minute and irregularly irregular, respiratory rate of 16/minute, and oxygen saturation of 93% on 4 liters nasal cannula. Though the patient was in no acute distress and lying comfortably in bed, examination revealed a diffusely tender abdomen that was markedly distended and tympanitic to percussion without bowel sounds.

Laboratory findings are listed in Table 1. Admission imaging included a chest x-ray and abdominal x-ray (Table 2). Subsequently, a nasogastric tube and rectal tube were inserted. The physical exam remained unchanged with these interventions. A CT of the abdomen and pelvis without contrast (Figs. 2-5) was performed (Table 2). It was believed that the large renal cyst was causing a colonic obstruction. To further characterize the cyst and determine its true origin a renal ultrasound (U/S) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the abdomen were done (Table 2).

Fig. (1)

Abdominal x-ray demonstrating dilated colon due to a possible distal colonic obstruction.



Fig. (2)

CT of Abdomen/Pelvis demonstrating 27 cm renal cyst.



Fig. (3)

CT of the Abdomen/Pelvis demonstating the renal cyst originating from the right kidney.



Fig. (4)

CT of the Abdomen/Pelvis (coronal view) demonstrating a large renal cyst.



Fig. (5)

CT of the Abdomen/Pelvis (sagittal view) deomonstrating a large renal cyst.



Fig. (6)

MRI of the Abdomen demonstrating a right renal cyst measuring 27.94 cm by 20.45 cm.



Table 1

Laboratory Values




Table 2

Imaging Studies




Table 3

Bosniak Renal Cyst Classification. Adopted from Eknoyan G. A Clinical View of Simple and Complex Renal Cysts. J Am Soc Nephrol 20: 1874-1876, 2009




Due to the ongoing abdominal pain, distention, lack of bowel movement/flatus and worsening lactic acidosis (to 3.8 mmol/L), an U/S guided drainage of the renal cyst was performed; 6.7 liters of serous fluid were drained. A catheter was placed for continuous drainage which produced about 0.5 liters in the following two days and was subsequently removed. The fluid cultures were negative for growth.

After the drainage, the patient had improvement of his abdominal pain and distention. He began to produce flatus and small bowel movements.

DISCUSSION

Renal cysts are a common finding in the general population especially with the increasing use of CT and ultrasound. Renal cysts increase in frequency after the second decade of life. The prevalence can range from 5-41% depending on the imaging modality used to diagnose renal cysts [1Eknoyan G. A clinical view of simple and complex renal cysts. J Am Soc Nephrol 2009; 20: 1874-6., 2Bisceglia M, Galliani C, Senger C, Stallone C, Sessa A. Renal cystic diseases: a review. Adv Anat Pathol 2006; 13: 26-56.]. About 20% of 40 year old patients and 33% of those older than 60 years old have renal cysts. Common risk factors for renal cysts include advanced age, male gender, renal dysfunction, hypertension, and the need for long-term dialysis [2Bisceglia M, Galliani C, Senger C, Stallone C, Sessa A. Renal cystic diseases: a review. Adv Anat Pathol 2006; 13: 26-56., 4Terada N, Arai Y, Kinukawa N, Terai A. The 10-Year natural history of simple renal cysts. Urology 2008; 71: 7-11.].

Early hypotheses suggested that renal infarction and tubular obstruction was the inciting events that lead to the development of a renal cyst. Recent theories focus on the diverticula of the distal convoluted tubules as the etiology of cysts. A renal tubule detaches from its parent tubule thus creating a potential space. These diverticula increase in number in the aged kidney, probably as a result of weakening of the tubular basement membrane [1Eknoyan G. A clinical view of simple and complex renal cysts. J Am Soc Nephrol 2009; 20: 1874-6., 2Bisceglia M, Galliani C, Senger C, Stallone C, Sessa A. Renal cystic diseases: a review. Adv Anat Pathol 2006; 13: 26-56., 4Terada N, Arai Y, Kinukawa N, Terai A. The 10-Year natural history of simple renal cysts. Urology 2008; 71: 7-11., 6Hale JE, Morgan MN. Simple renal cyst. Postgrad Med J 1969; 45: 767-2., 7Chang CC, Kuo JY, Chan WL, Chan KK, Chang LS. Prevalence and clinical characteristics of simple renal cysts. J Chin Med Assoc 2007; 70: 486-91.].

Renal cyst classification is based on their appearance and enhancement on CT and was introduced by Bosniak in 1986 with the most recent revision in 2003 [1Eknoyan G. A clinical view of simple and complex renal cysts. J Am Soc Nephrol 2009; 20: 1874-6.,11Israel GM, Bosniak MA. An update of the Bosniak renal cyst classification system. Urology 2005; 66: 484-8.,12Bosniak MA. The current radiological approach to renal cysts. Radiology 1986; 158: 1-10.]. The

Bosniak classification (Table 3) is based on the fluid density, wall and septal thickness, enhancement, and calcification which helps classify chances of being benign versus malignant. It was developed for CT but can be applied to MRI or U/S [8Bradley AJ, Lim YY, Singh FM. Imaging features. follo-up.and management of incidentally detected renal lesions. Clin Radiol 2011; 66: 1129-39.-2Bisceglia M, Galliani C, Senger C, Stallone C, Sessa A. Renal cystic diseases: a review. Adv Anat Pathol 2006; 13: 26-56.].

This patient had Bosniak category I (simple) renal cysts. The cyst was a discrete lesion within the kidney likely of cortical origin extending beyond the parenchyma and distorting the renal contour [1Eknoyan G. A clinical view of simple and complex renal cysts. J Am Soc Nephrol 2009; 20: 1874-6.]. This category of cysts is oval to round with a smooth border of single layer of flattened cuboidal epithelial cell. These cysts are filled with a homogeneous transudate-like, clear or straw-colored fluid of low viscosity, with a radiodensity similar to water [1Eknoyan G. A clinical view of simple and complex renal cysts. J Am Soc Nephrol 2009; 20: 1874-6., 7Chang CC, Kuo JY, Chan WL, Chan KK, Chang LS. Prevalence and clinical characteristics of simple renal cysts. J Chin Med Assoc 2007; 70: 486-91.]. Approximately 70 to 80% are solitary, unilateral, and cortical [1Eknoyan G. A clinical view of simple and complex renal cysts. J Am Soc Nephrol 2009; 20: 1874-6.].

Risk factors that predispose one to rapid and aggressive cyst enlargement include younger age at time of diagnosis, renal cyst being multiloculated, and bilateral renal cysts [4Terada N, Arai Y, Kinukawa N, Terai A. The 10-Year natural history of simple renal cysts. Urology 2008; 71: 7-11.]. Simple renal cysts vary in size, but enlarge over time in approximately 25% of cases at a rate of 3.9% per year. They may double in size over 10 yr [1Eknoyan G. A clinical view of simple and complex renal cysts. J Am Soc Nephrol 2009; 20: 1874-6., 2Bisceglia M, Galliani C, Senger C, Stallone C, Sessa A. Renal cystic diseases: a review. Adv Anat Pathol 2006; 13: 26-56.]. A younger age at the time of measurement is the strongest predictor [4Terada N, Arai Y, Kinukawa N, Terai A. The 10-Year natural history of simple renal cysts. Urology 2008; 71: 7-11.].

Most simple renal cysts are asymptomatic and incidentally discovered, requiring no intervention. Infrequently, simple renal cysts can cause mass effect as a complication that requires intervention, as in this case [9Agarwal MM, Hemal AK. Surgical management of renal cystic disease. Curr Urol Rep 2011; 12: 3-10.]. A large renal cyst may cause obstructive symptoms, particularly when proximal to or encompassing the renal pelvis [1Eknoyan G. A clinical view of simple and complex renal cysts. J Am Soc Nephrol 2009; 20: 1874-6.]. Most renal cysts are placed superficially and expand away from the kidney and can, on occasions, reach sufficient size to press on neighboring structures, such as the stomach or colon, to produce dyspepsia and obstruction. For example, the only case report found was from 1914 involving an extremely large renal cysts, containing as much as 12 liters of fluid [6Hale JE, Morgan MN. Simple renal cyst. Postgrad Med J 1969; 45: 767-2.]. The symptoms of these large renal cysts are due to pressure on surrounding organs including chronic intestinal obstruction as described in 1914 by Bevers et al. [5Bevers EC, Oxon BC. A renal cyst causing chronic intestinal obstruction. Br Med J 1914; 28, 1(2778): 702-3.]. In this 1914 case report, the region of the colon at the splenic flexure was constricted where it passed around the neck of the renal cyst and the cyst itself was pressing upon the descending colon causing a second obstruction [5Bevers EC, Oxon BC. A renal cyst causing chronic intestinal obstruction. Br Med J 1914; 28, 1(2778): 702-3.]. Complications are rare with a range of 2 to 4% [1Eknoyan G. A clinical view of simple and complex renal cysts. J Am Soc Nephrol 2009; 20: 1874-6.]. The most common complications are hemorrhage, infection, or rupture. Hemorrhage may occur in a preexisting simple renal cyst, or a renal cyst may form from the liquefaction of a traumatic hemorrhage within the kidney parenchyma, which occurs in about 6% of simple renal cysts. Simple renal cysts may become infected or a renal abscess may resolve into a renal cyst. The wall of infected renal cysts is often thickened markedly and calcified occasionally. Attenuation is increased and may be nonhomogeneous but is not enhanced after dye [1Eknoyan G. A clinical view of simple and complex renal cysts. J Am Soc Nephrol 2009; 20: 1874-6.].

The management of renal cysts is largely dependent upon its Bosniak score. Bosniak category I and II cysts are benign, but may need periodic evaluation by U/S for the first 2 to 3 years, especially in younger patients with cyst diameters greater than 3 cm [1Eknoyan G. A clinical view of simple and complex renal cysts. J Am Soc Nephrol 2009; 20: 1874-6.]. The decision for intervention in Bosniak category I or II cysts largely depends upon the effects and symptoms directly related to renal cyst. If an intervention is decided, the options include: percutaneous management, aspiration, sclerotherapy, surgical de-roofing, open surgery, laparoscopic surgery, standard multiple-port access surgery, single-port laparoscopic surgery, and robot-assisted surgery [2Bisceglia M, Galliani C, Senger C, Stallone C, Sessa A. Renal cystic diseases: a review. Adv Anat Pathol 2006; 13: 26-56., 7Chang CC, Kuo JY, Chan WL, Chan KK, Chang LS. Prevalence and clinical characteristics of simple renal cysts. J Chin Med Assoc 2007; 70: 486-91., 9Agarwal MM, Hemal AK. Surgical management of renal cystic disease. Curr Urol Rep 2011; 12: 3-10.]. One study showed that continuous percutaneous catheter drainage with negative pressure was more efficient than single-session alcohol sclerotherapy in large renal cysts [10Zerem E, Imamovíc G, Omerovíc S. Symptomatic simple renal cyst: comparison of continuous negative-pressure catheter drainage and single-session alcohol sclerotherapy. Am J Roentgenol 2008; 190: 1193-7.]. Laparoscopic renal cyst ablation can also be offered to patients who have symptomatic simple renal cysts and who have failed previous conservative management and a trial of sclerosing agents or percutaneous aspiration [2Bisceglia M, Galliani C, Senger C, Stallone C, Sessa A. Renal cystic diseases: a review. Adv Anat Pathol 2006; 13: 26-56.]. Follow-up is recommended for Bosniak category IIF lesions. The time interval required to diagnose a renal mass as benign is not known. Bosniak category III and IV patients are referred for consideration of surgical removal due to high malignancy rates [8Bradley AJ, Lim YY, Singh FM. Imaging features. follo-up.and management of incidentally detected renal lesions. Clin Radiol 2011; 66: 1129-39.].

CONCLUSION

Colonic obstruction due to a simple renal cyst is unusual with only one case report in 1914. The idea is not completely out of the ordinary especially if the renal cyst is large enough. Recognizing which renal cyst need follow-up is also a key component. Even though simple renal cyst usually do not need follow-up, large renal cysts should be followed. Once symptoms arise, it is up to the primary care physician to recognize the complications and symptoms related to renal cyst. If this patient had followed up with a renal U/S, it would have been recognized earlier and interventions could have prevented the colonic obstruction. Also in the elderly, these types of complications need to be recognized sooner so as to avoid deleterious outcomes such as death.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

The authors confirm that this article content has no conflict of interest.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Declared none.

REFERENCES

[1] Eknoyan G. A clinical view of simple and complex renal cysts. J Am Soc Nephrol 2009; 20: 1874-6.
[2] Bisceglia M, Galliani C, Senger C, Stallone C, Sessa A. Renal cystic diseases: a review. Adv Anat Pathol 2006; 13: 26-56.
[3] Higgins JC, Fitzgerald JM. Evaluation of incidental renal and adrenal masses. Fam Physician 2001; 63: 288-99.
[4] Terada N, Arai Y, Kinukawa N, Terai A. The 10-Year natural history of simple renal cysts. Urology 2008; 71: 7-11.
[5] Bevers EC, Oxon BC. A renal cyst causing chronic intestinal obstruction. Br Med J 1914; 28, 1(2778): 702-3.
[6] Hale JE, Morgan MN. Simple renal cyst. Postgrad Med J 1969; 45: 767-2.
[7] Chang CC, Kuo JY, Chan WL, Chan KK, Chang LS. Prevalence and clinical characteristics of simple renal cysts. J Chin Med Assoc 2007; 70: 486-91.
[8] Bradley AJ, Lim YY, Singh FM. Imaging features. follo-up.and management of incidentally detected renal lesions. Clin Radiol 2011; 66: 1129-39.
[9] Agarwal MM, Hemal AK. Surgical management of renal cystic disease. Curr Urol Rep 2011; 12: 3-10.
[10] Zerem E, Imamovíc G, Omerovíc S. Symptomatic simple renal cyst: comparison of continuous negative-pressure catheter drainage and single-session alcohol sclerotherapy. Am J Roentgenol 2008; 190: 1193-7.
[11] Israel GM, Bosniak MA. An update of the Bosniak renal cyst classification system. Urology 2005; 66: 484-8.
[12] Bosniak MA. The current radiological approach to renal cysts. Radiology 1986; 158: 1-10.
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