Pediatric Kidney Care
Pediatric nephrologists specialize in diagnosing and treating children with kidney conditions. Whether your child has a mild condition or advanced kidney disease, his or her highly-qualified UNC Children’s medical team will provide comprehensive, supportive, family-centered treatment.
You can trust that your baby, child, or teenager is getting top-quality care, because U.S. News & World Report consistently recognizes UNC Children’s pediatric kidney care as one as among the best in the nation on its annual “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals” list. We’ll treat your child’s medical condition and emotionally support the entire family as you learn how to successfully manage your child’s health.
What We Treat
Renal Conditions We Treat
Find treatment for a wide range of kidney conditions in children from birth through young adult, including:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Congenital anomalies – Physical conditions present at birth
- End stage renal disease (ESRD) – Final stage of chronic kidney disease; patient requires dialysis or transplant to stay alive
- Focal glomerulosclerosis – Scarring in the kidney
- Glomerulonephritis – Inflammation of the glomeruli, the structures in the kidney that filter waste
- IgA nephropathy (Berger’s disease)
- Post-infectious glomerulonephritis
- Hematuria – Blood in urine
- Hypertension (high blood pressure) from urological problems
- Nephrotic syndrome – A group of symptoms that includes swelling, protein in urine, low blood protein levels, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Nephritis – Inflammation of the kidney
- Proteinuria – Protein in urine
- Renal failure – When the kidneys can no longer effectively filter waste products from the blood
- Tubulointerstitial nephropathy – Inflammation between the kidney tubules
Your Dedicated Kidney Team
When you choose UNC Children’s for kidney care, you’ll find a team of experts with experience caring for children and families. We offer the full spectrum of inpatient and outpatient clinical care for children. Your kidney care team includes:
- Board-certified pediatric nephrologists – Specialize in diagnosing and treating children with kidney conditions
- Nurse practitioners – Diagnose and treat kidney conditions under the supervision of a nephrologist
- Nephrology nurses – Coordinate care and offer education and support
- Psychiatrists and psychologists – Treat depression, anxiety and other mental health issues
- Social workers – Connect you with community resources and services
- Recreational therapists – Use play to improve children’s physical, mental, emotional or social well-being
- Dietitians – Help you and your child create a personalized eating plan to keep his or her kidneys as healthy as possible
- Transition coordinator – Helps teens and young adults prepare to successfully self-manage their kidney condition
Our culturally sensitive approach to care includes bilingual, Spanish-speaking staff. We also coordinate treatments with other UNC Children’s specialties as needed, so your child will get seamless care in one location with less going back and forth for appointments with different specialists.
Your care team’s on-going engagement in clinical research, including multi-center studies, ensures your child will have access to the latest therapies. We are a member of the Nephrotic Syndrome Study Network (NEPTUNE) and the Midwest Pediatric Nephrology Consortium.
If your child’s stay requires inpatient care at N.C. Children’s Hospital, Hospital School teachers can help your child keep up with school work during extended absences from his or her regular classroom.
Nephrology Services We Offer
UNC Children’s pediatric nephrology team offers the most up-to-date, evidence-based diagnostics and treatments, including:
- Kidney biopsy – Uses a needle to remove a small piece of kidney tissue so it can be examined more closely
- Dialysis – Removes waste and extra fluid from the blood
- Peritoneal dialysis – Uses blood vessels in the abdominal lining (peritoneum) and a special fluid that flows through a thin, flexible tube, called a catheter, to filter waste
- Hemodialysis – Uses a machine to filter blood; takes several hours and must be done a set number of times a week in a special clinic
- Advanced acute care for kidney disease, including
- Continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) – Nonstop dialysis therapy to support children with kidney failure
- Plasmapheresis services – Filters and removes harmful antibodies from the blood
- Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) – Provides oxygen using a heart-lung bypass pump
- Kidney transplant
We also offer web-based patient and family education resources and an online kidney health library, empowering you and your child to be active members of your own care team.
Smooth Transition to Adulthood with Renal Disease (STARx)
As your child nears adulthood, our transition program provides knowledge, support and tools to help him or her successfully self-manage kidney disease.
The Smooth Transition to Adulthood with Renal Disease (STARx) program will prepare your teen for care under a kidney doctor for adults. S/he will learn how to keep track of his or her diagnosis, medications, and allergies.