Specialty Programs

Nephrologists at the University of Chicago Medicine have advanced training in highly specialized areas of kidney disease, allowing us to offer services not available at many hospitals.

Our nephrology team includes several physicians who specialize in diagnosing and treating acute kidney injury (AKI), which occurs when your kidneys shut down rapidly over a short period of time.

Because AKI is common among people who are already hospitalized with a critical illness, our doctors routinely manage care for patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). Our inpatient services include continuous renal replacement therapy, medication management and careful monitoring until your kidneys have recovered and you are healthy enough to go home.

Once you have been discharged from the hospital, our physicians will continue to provide long-term monitoring and care for you as needed. That’s because many patients who recover from AKI are at risk of developing chronic kidney disease and are prone to additional episodes of AKI.

Members of our staff are also engaged in clinical research designed to better understand who is at highest risk of AKI and long term side effects, as well as identifying more accurate and efficient ways to detect the onset of AKI. Not only are our physicians committed to scientific research, but also their clinical expertise is unmatched in the region. This means patients with AKI have access to emerging kidney disease therapies not widely available.

People with chronic kidney disease often suffer from other medical conditions including diabetes and heart disease, meaning they may have significant health needs that must be treated by multiple specialists. Our multidisciplinary program brings together the best of UChicago Medicine’s clinical and support services, ranging from kidney, heart and liver specialists to dietitians and genetic counselors. Patients may also work with social workers who can help you manage insurance eligibility, medication costs or transportation assistance.

Our goal is to keep your kidneys strong and healthy for as long as possible, using a combination of medication and healthy lifestyle changes, including following a proper diet and quitting smoking. Patients benefit from a personalized prescription for their kidney health. If you eventually transition into kidney failure or end-stage renal disease, you will always continue to receive expert care and support from our dialysis or transplantation specialists.
UChicago Medicine physicians have unique expertise in caring for patients with complicated and hard-to-manage hypertension (high blood pressure), which can cause significant kidney damage if left untreated. Our accredited hypertension center offers a team-based approach designed especially for patients who have severe high blood pressure in combination with other medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. In addition to offering 24-hour, remote blood pressure monitoring, our program is a national leader in hypertension research.
UChicago Medicine is home to some of the country’s most respected experts in glomerular diseases, a category of kidney disorders that affects the “glomeruli” (tiny structures inside your kidneys that clean blood). Glomerular diseases damage the glomeruli, allowing blood and significant amounts of protein to leak into your urine, reducing your kidneys’ ability to properly filter wastes. These disorders may have no known cause or they can be triggered by other medical conditions, including autoimmune disorders that attack many different organs inside the body.

Because glomerular disease can’t be effectively treated without a precise diagnosis, it’s important to seek care from doctors who not only have experience identifying these complicated and often rare disorders, but also can prescribe the right combination of medications and other treatment options. Our nephrologists specialize in diagnosing and managing all varieties of glomerular disease, including glomerulonephritis, Goodpasture syndrome, IgA nephropathy lupus nephritis and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS).
UChicago Medicine offers one of the largest programs in the country for people with inherited kidney diseases, including the most common hereditary kidney disorder, autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). We have an extensive diagnostic panel of genes that can be tested to help patients receive an accurate diagnosis for one of several varieties of genetic kidney disorders. We also have the largest ADPKD registry of its kind in Illinois, with more than 2,000 patients from 700 families evaluated and receiving ongoing care.

Because patients with ADPKD are often at a higher risk for other medical conditions such as brain aneurysm, heart valve problems and liver cysts, our doctors routinely partner with top specialists in other fields including cardiac surgery, vascular surgery and neurosurgery. This allows us to ensure you receive the most comprehensive care available.

Our program has also earned recognition for our federally-funded clinical and translational research activities. Through research, our doctors are learning more about — and exploring new treatments for — hereditary kidney diseases, particularly ADPKD.
With a long history of impressive “firsts,” including performing the world’s first liver transplant from a living donor, UChicago Medicine’s transplant program continues to break new ground. Our team has performed more than 2,500 kidney transplants since 1970, with success and survival rates that continually exceed national averages.

As part of our commitment to helping you get off the transplant waiting list and successfully receive a new kidney, we’re utilizing refined donor-matching techniques and helping establish a kidney exchange program that may broaden the donor and recipient pools in the Midwest.

In addition to performing kidney-only transplants for people with kidney failure, we also offer simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplants for people who have both Type 1 diabetes and significant kidney disease.
UChicago Medicine offers one of the largest and most successful programs in the country for people seeking kidney stone prevention. Our specialized kidney stone laboratory provides the precise measurements in blood and 24-hour urine collections needed to determine the best kinds of medical treatment. Our physicians have extensive experience and are internationally renowned as clinicians and scientists. Our research has been federally funded since 1976.
Our nephrology team works closely with pediatric nephrologists at UChicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital to help treat children with complicated kidney diseases, especially as they transition from adolescence to adulthood and their care needs change.
Many people with chronic kidney disease, especially those who require dialysis treatment, eventually end up with bone problems. This is because impaired kidneys can no longer maintain healthy levels of calcium, phosphorus, vitamins and other minerals essential to bone health. Our nephrologists partner with endocrinologists and other medical specialists to help diagnose and treat renal bone conditions including osteoporosis, osteomalacia and renal osteodystrophy.