Kidney Disease Treatment

Our pediatric nephrologists treat infants, children and teens with all types of kidney and urogenital problems, including acute and chronic kidney failure, glomerular diseases, hemolytic uremic syndrome, polycystic kidney disease, hydronephrosis, urinary tract infections, obstructions along the urinary tract and abnormalities present at birth

Conditions We Treat

Our pediatric nephrologists treat infants, children and teens with all types of kidney and urogenital problems, including:

  • Abnormalities present at birth
  • Acute and chronic kidney failure
  • Glomerular diseases
  • Hemolytic uremic syndrome
  • Hydronephrosis
  • Obstructions along the urinary tract
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Urinary tract infections

State-of-the-Art Therapies

Our pediatric experts use the most sophisticated treatments, including:

  • Hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis for kidney failure: Inpatient dialysis is also available for children with acute kidney failure and other emergency situations.
  • Kidney transplants including living donor transplants from related and non-related donors: Our transplant surgeons are internationally recognized for their expertise. Because of their high level of experience, they are able to perform transplants on even the smallest of infants.
  • New appraoches to glomerular diseases and other kidney problems: These include recent advances in immunosuppressant medicines.
  • Minimally invasive procedures: When surgery is necessary, our surgeons often employ minimally invasive approaches to reduce a child's pain and speed recovery. For example, our surgeons can remove some or all of a child's kidney through a tiny incision that leaves only a small scar.
  • Innovative approaches to treating kidney stones: Our kidney stone experts can also help prevent future kidney stones in children.
  • Prenatal testing and counseling: These services are available for expectant parents of infants who may have congenital kidney abnormalities.

Expert Diagnostic Consultations

Our pediatric nephrologists respond quickly to calls from referring physicians who want to discuss a child's lab results or symptoms. When the problem is serious, our specialists can arrange to see a child for an examination as soon as needed. Because they have cared for so many children with various forms of kidney disease, our physicians are experts at diagnosing even rare and unusual kidney problems.

Comer Children's offers all of the latest approaches for diagnosing and evaluating kidney-related problems, including kidney biopsies and sophisticated imaging studies such as CT and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Comprehensive Disease Management

Our pediatric nephrologists do everything possible to keep chronic kidney disease in check and to prevent growth failure, anemia and other complications. When problems develop, our patients have access to the latest treatments. For example, many children with growth failure are now helped with human growth hormone injections.

Parents and children are also encouraged to consult with a dietitian. The right diet can help keep kidney disease under control and prevent complications such as growth failure.

Expert Help for Bedwetting

Our Bedwetting Clinic is led by one of the region's leading experts on enuresis (bedwetting) in children. Our clinic is exclusively devoted to helping children get over this frustrating problem. We work closely with parents to find the best possible approach. The majority of children who wet the bed can be successfully cured with behavioral therapies, bed-wetting alarms or drug therapy.

Why Choose Us?

Because our physicians are also researchers, they are on top of the most recent advances in kidney care — and pass these on to our patients as quickly as possible. Children who require immunosuppressant medicines benefit from a long history of research on these agents. UChicago Medicine researchers helped develop and refine many important immunosuppressant medications, including OK-T3, a mainstay immunosuppression drug for more than a decade.

Our pediatric nephrologists have been recognized as some of the best physicians in the Chicago area. Combining their vast knowledge and many years of experience, they are able to successfully diagnose and treat children with all types of kidney problems.

Family plays a major role in managing a child's kidney disease. Having a child on dialysis or preparing for a kidney transplant can be especially challenging. We provide all of our patients and families with the education they need to successfully manage their child's health.

Our staff is always available by phone to address questions and concerns. Our advanced practice nurses work exclusively with children who have kidney problems and their families. They have helped hundreds of families through dietary changes, peritoneal dialysis and other events. As a result, our nurses can often address questions families have before they even have a chance to ask them.

We understand the stress and turmoil that kidney disease can cause a child and his or her family. We go to great strides to help our patients "be kids or teens," despite having a medical condition. One way we do this is by performing pre-emptive kidney transplants when it's the right solution for the child and a compatible donor kidney is available.

At many medical centers, children with end-stage renal disease have to suffer through inconvenient, unpleasant dialysis treatments before getting a kidney transplant. Here at Comer Children's, we're helping these patients skip dialysis and go straight to transplantation. These pre-emptive transplants save the patients and their families a lot of stress. Once a child recovers from transplant surgery, he or she can lead an active life. Some research also links pre-emptive transplants with better graft acceptance rates than transplants performed after dialysis is begun.

Our staff's expertise and skill allow them to take on very sick children who may be considered too difficult to treat at other pediatric hospitals. For example, we commonly provide dialysis and kidney transplants to children with HIV, multiple organ failure and complex congenital anomalies.

Our kidney transplant survival rates and our graft acceptance rates are among the highest in the United States. Our transplant patients are followed by our pediatric nephrologists from the pre-transplant phase until they are old enough to see an adult nephrologist. The close attention that these children receive helps ensure they keep their donor kidneys healthy for as long as possible.

Many of our patients have to take immunosuppressant medicines, which can cause weight gain, acne and other side effects. These drugs can also increase a child's risk of infection. Physicians at Comer Children's are experts in the various nuances of immunosuppressive medicines and prescribe only as much as needed to reduce side effects.

Our physicians and advanced practice nurses pride themselves in getting back to parents, older children and referring physicians as quickly as possible. Our staff knows firsthand: when you are worried about a sick child, a quick callback can save hours of anxiety and frustration. This also applies to diagnostic tests. Because we have our own renal pathologist on staff, we are able to provide parents and referring physicians with very quick results on kidney tests. Other hospitals often have to send tests to outside labs, which can delay results.

Children with chronic kidney problems have a lot to cope with — from restrictive diets to medication side effects. Teenagers who are also experiencing the stresses of puberty and adolescence may be especially at risk for depression, anxiety and other emotional problems.

Our social workers, nurses and child life specialists are here to help patients and their families through these issues. Teens can also talk to other teens in our teen lounge or through our teen support group. If necessary, patients and their families can meet with a therapist from our child and adolescent psychiatry group.