Kidney disease (renal failure) is short-term or permanent damage to the kidneys that results in loss of normal kidney function. There are 2 different types:
Acute kidney disease may be caused by:
Chronic kidney disease may be caused by:
A child is more at risk for acute kidney disease if he or she has:
A child is more at risk for chronic kidney disease if he or she has:
The symptoms for acute and chronic kidney disease may be different. These are the most common symptoms. But symptoms may be a bit different for each child.
Symptoms of acute kidney disease can include:
Symptoms of chronic kidney disease can include:
The symptoms of acute and chronic kidney disease can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
The healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. He or she will give your child a physical exam. Your child may also have tests, such as:
Most children with kidney disease see both a pediatrician or family doctor and a nephrologist. A nephrologist is a healthcare provider with special training to treat kidney problems.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. It also depends what kind of kidney disease your child has.
Treatment of acute kidney disease depends on what is causing it. Treatment may include:
Treatment of chronic kidney disease depends on how well the kidney is still working. Treatment may include:
Your child may need to make changes to his or her diet. Your child may need to limit:
In some cases, a child may develop severe problems with electrolytes. This may cause dangerous levels of waste products in the blood that are normally removed by the kidneys. A child may also develop fluid overload. A child may need dialysis in these cases.
Dialysis is a procedure that filters waste and extra fluid from the blood. This is normally be done by the kidneys. There are 2 types of dialysis.
This can be done at home. This method uses the lining of the belly (abdominal) cavity to filter the blood. This cavity is the space that holds organs such as the stomach, intestines, and liver. The lining is called the peritoneum.
First, a surgeon places a thin, flexible tube (catheter) into your child’s belly. After the tube is placed, a sterile cleansing fluid (dialysate) is put through the catheter into the peritoneal cavity. The fluid is left in the belly for a period of time. This fluid absorbs the waste products through the peritoneum. The fluid is then drained from the belly, measured, and discarded. This process of filling and draining fluid is called an exchange.
This is done in a dialysis center or hospital by healthcare providers. A special type of access, called an arteriovenous (AV) fistula, is placed during a small surgery. This fistula is an artery and a vein that are joined together. It is usually done in your child's arm. An external IV (intravenous) catheter may also be inserted. This is less common for long-term dialysis.
Your child will then be connected to a large hemodialysis machine. Blood is pumped through a tube into the machine to filter out the wastes and extra fluid. The filtered blood then flows through another tube back into your child's body. Hemodialysis is usually done several times a week. Each session lasts for 4 to 5 hours. It may be helpful to bring games or reading materials for your child to keep him or her busy during this procedure.
Talk with your child’s healthcare providers about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of all treatments.
Because the kidneys have many functions, kidney failure can affect many body systems. Complications may include:
Call your child’s healthcare provider if your child has:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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