Pediatric nephrology is the medical specialty that diagnoses and treats kidney disorders in children. While elevated blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease are frequently responsible for kidney disorders in adults, structural abnormalities or hereditary kidney disorders are common causes of kidney conditions in children. These children's kidney conditions impair kidney function by preventing the filtration of waste and toxins. Excess waste, protein, or salt in the bloodstream may cause a slew of negative symptoms in children. Although certain medications can help with these symptoms, advanced surgical treatment is often required. For example, chronic kidney disorders (CKD) in children progressively worsen, eventually often necessitating dialysis therapy and/or a kidney transplant. Conditions and diseases which a pediatric nephrologist may treat include:
Pediatric nephrologists may diagnose children through urinalysis, which are urine tests that detect blood cells, infection, and protein. Blood tests can also be used to determine kidney function and kidneys' ability to filter waste. At times, pediatric nephrologists perform a kidney biopsy (tissue sample) for further evaluation. Imaging techniques such as X-rays and CT scans can reveal kidney stones and structural anomalies, while kidney ultrasounds can show how the kidneys function in real time. Pediatric nephrologists interpret scan results and explain them to patients and their families. Once a diagnosis is reached, pediatric nephrologists may prescribe from a variety of treatment options, including:
Pediatric nephrologists may work with pediatric urologists, pediatric surgeons, pediatric radiologists, dietitians, child-life specialists and other medical professionals.