Nephrology and kidney transplantation
Kidney disease is a major cause of illness and death among children and may result from babies being born with missing or malformed kidneys, urinary tract obstructions, genetic disorders, cysts, or other diseases. The National Institutes of Health reports that 20,000 babies are born in the United States with kidney problems each year. About 2,000 of those infants do not survive, and 1,000 others must undergo treatment for kidney failure.
The kidneys are vital organs that filter harmful chemicals from the blood, produce urine to eliminate these chemicals and also get rid of the ‘extra’ water that we drink and recirculate important proteins back into the bloodstream. Urine is retained in the bladder before leaving the body. The filtration within the kidneys is performed by cellular units called “nephrons,” which explains why doctors specializing in the organs of the urinary tract are called nephrologists. They refer to kidney maladies as “renal” disease, a term derived from the Latin name for the kidneys.
Kidneys also play an important role in controlling the body’s calcium balance. They produce rennin to help regulate blood pressure, and make another hormone called erythropoietin that triggers production of red blood cells in the bone marrow.
Kidney or urinary tract disorders can cause a child to develop swelling, fever, frequent or painful urination, increased blood pressure, or difficulty in controlling urination—including bedwetting. Presence of visible blood in the urine is also cause for concern.
Advanced care for children with kidney disease is offered by the Pediatric Nephrology Clinic at UC Davis Children's Hospital. Advanced inpatient and outpatient clinical care is available for children with kidney disorders and for children who require peritoneal dialysis, hemodialysis or kidney transplantation.
UC Davis Children's Hospital conducts the only pediatric nephrology program in the Sacramento region. The members of the UC Davis Children's Hospital pediatric nephrology medical team are recognized nationally for advances in treatment and research studies benefiting patients who have chronic diseases of the kidney. We attribute our success to our team approach in which transplant surgeons, urologists, social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, dietitians and clinical nurses participate in the care of our patients.