Nephrology: What We Treat

The Nephrology department at Children's Medical Center Dallas provides consultation, diagnostic and treatment services to children and adolescents with problems related to the kidneys including hypertension, renal failure, nephrotic syndrome, acid-base and electrolyte disorders, hematuria (presence of blood in the urine), proteinuria (presence of excess protein in the urine), glomerular filtration disorders, and urinary tract infections.

The Nephrology department at Children’s is comprised of three programs: the Nephrology Clinic, Hemodialysis, and Peritoneal Dialysis.

Hemodialysis Program

The Hemodialysis Program treats patients with chronic kidney disease or ESRD.  Hemodialysis is a treatment procedure that uses a dialysis machine to remove wastes and extra fluid from the patient’s blood.  Generally outpatient treatments occur three times each week for 3-4 hours per visit.

Children’s in-center Hemodialysis Program has eight treatment stations and one isolation station, which is open from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. A nurse is also available 24 hours a day to provide emergency dialysis.

The Hemodialysis Program followed a total of 44 outpatients in 2010, providing 4,934 treatments.

The Nephrology Clinic

The Nephrology Clinic provides outpatient diagnostic services, preventive screenings, and wellness and problem-centered management to children and adolescents with renal disorders. The clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

In 2010, the Nephrology Clinic provided 5,155 visits and procedures including bone density and glomerular filtration studies that check the filtering abilities of the kidneys.  A series of blood draws completed at different time intervals indicate how well the kidneys are functioning and help to determine the stage of kidney disease.

Peritoneal Dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is another treatment option for children with acute or chronic renal failure. Outpatient PD allows patients to manage their condition at home through training of the patient and caregiver.

It is a good option for patients who live far away, work or have other limitations that prevent them from coming for scheduled in-center hemodialysis. The patient’s own peritoneal membrane in the abdomen is used as a filter. Impurities in the blood are emptied out of the abdomen every few hours by the patient or by a machine at night called a cycler.

In 2010, 36 total outpatients were followed by the peritoneal dialysis program, and 9,383 treatments were performed.

Children’s dialysis program is the largest pediatric dialysis program in North Texas and is one of the largest pediatric programs in the country. Since dialysis patients frequently miss school to receive treatments at the hospital, the department employees a hospital-based school teacher and patient laptops to make sure they don’t fall behind in their class work.

Nephrology: Why Children's