Treatments & Procedures

How We Diagnose Kidney Diseases

At NewYork-Presbyterian, we create a treatment plan based on the root cause of your child's disease and the related complications he or she develops. We use diagnostic tools such as:

  • Urine tests to check the levels of various proteins
  • Blood tests to estimate the amount of blood your child's kidneys filter each minute (estimated glomerular filtration rate or eGFR).
  • Imaging studies to see the size and shape of your child's kidneys and to identify any abnormalities.
  • A kidney biopsy to remove and examine a small piece of kidney tissue to determine the cause of your child's kidney disease and the extent of kidney damage. You can usually bring your child home the same day as the biopsy.

Assessing Blood Pressure

Since elevated blood pressure is a common complication of kidney disease and can lead to further kidney damage, we sometimes use 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring to determine whether a child's elevated blood pressure readings are related to “white coat” hypertension (blood pressure that rises when in a doctor's office, due to stress) or to an underlying kidney disease. We may also perform arteriography to assess the health of your child's kidney arteries.

How We Treat Kidney Disease

Hypertension Treatment

Lowering a child's elevated blood pressure can significantly slow the progression of kidney disease. We often use a combination of medications to lower blood pressure.

Treatment for Anemia and Growth Failure

If your child's kidney disease is more advanced, he or she may need treatment for anemia and growth failure.

  • We may treat anemia using the hormone erythropoietin, which stimulates the bone marrow to produce red blood cells.
  • We may treat growth failure through dietary changes, food supplements, or growth hormone injections.

Dietary Therapy

Specific elements in your child's diet can affect how well his or her kidneys work—particularly protein, sodium, potassium, phosphorous, and fluids. Our nutritionist is experienced in helping children and families make and maintain dietary changes to improve kidney function.

Dialysis

Kidney disease can sometimes lead to kidney failure. If your child's kidneys are no longer able to function properly, we use a technique called dialysis to do the work of the kidneys.

  • With peritoneal dialysis, we place a catheter into your child's abdomen, making access to body fluids easier. This approach is often used in newborns and very young children, since it can be done at home at night while the child and family sleep.
  • We use hemodialysis, in which we access the bloodstream through a vein, for older children and deliver this care at the hospital. It can also be done in a dialysis center.

Kidney Transplantation

If your child's kidneys have stopped functioning, we may recommend a kidney transplant. During this surgery, our transplant surgeons remove the diseased kidney and replace it with a kidney from a deceased or living donor. Through our very active Living Donor Program, your child may be able to avoid a long wait for a donor organ. Our transplant teams are also skilled in transplanting adult kidneys, which have more reserve and usually function better than pediatric donor kidneys, into children.

Through our team approach, we provide continuity of care to your child throughout his or her illness and treatment. We offer your child and family comprehensive transplant counseling from the time you are deciding about transplantation, to the surgery, and throughout the recovery period.

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