PURPOSE: We aimed to investigate the clinical characteristics and associated diseases in children with a horseshoe kidney and compared these data between children and adults. METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of the medical records and radiological findings of 43 patients diagnosed with a horseshoe kidney in the Busan Paik Hospital. The subjects were divided into the children's group (14 cases, age <18 years) and the adult group (29 cases, age > or =18 years). RESULTS: The study group consisted of 17 males and 26 females with a median age of 34 years. In the children's group (14 cases), 5 subjects were male and 9 were female, with a mean age of 6.7+/-6.2 years. Most of the subjects were asymptomatic and were incidentally diagnosed with horseshoe kidney during their evaluation for another disease. Among the associated diseases in the children's group, Turner syndrome was the most common (5 cases), whereas ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) stricture was observed in 2 cases (14.2%). None of the children exhibited abnormal renal function during the follow-up period. In the adult group (29 cases), 12 subjects were male and 17 were female, with a mean age of 48 years. Eighteen patients were incidentally diagnosed with horseshoe kidney during their evaluation for another disease, and 11 patients had hematuria or abdominal pain due to renal stones. Among the associated diseases in the adult group, Turner syndrome was the most common (5 cases), and UPJ stricture was observed in 5 cases; the other accompanying diseases included hydronephrosis and overactive bladder. Six patients exhibited decreased renal function (serum creatinine level >1.5) during the follow-up period. CONCLUSION: Horseshoe kidney is usually diagnosed incidentally in both children and adults. In the present study, we noted that Turner syndrome was the most common associated disease in children. In addition, most children were asymptomatic but had a high risk of urologic complications after the transition to adulthood. Therefore, children with horseshoe kidney require continuous follow-up.