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Nephrology is the branch of medicine dealing with the kidneys. In children, numerous problems, including some that are relatively minor and others that are serious or even life-threatening, can affect these crucial organs. IU Health provides Indiana’s most comprehensive set of evaluation and treatment services for kidney disease and kidney failure (also known as renal failure) in children.

The kidneys remove waste from the body in the form of urine. They also perform several other important functions, including helping to maintain the body’s balance of salts and other substances and producing certain hormones. They also convert vitamin D into a form the body can use. Kidney problems in children can arise from birth defects, genetic diseases, infection, trauma, systemic diseases and urinary blockage, among other causes. In addition to acute and chronic kidney failure, a few examples of conditions we treat include kidney stones, kidney tubular acidosis, nephrotic syndrome and congenital diseases of the kidney, including polycystic kidney disease and renal aplasia.

To diagnose kidney disease in children, nephrologists rely on physical examination and medical history, as well as urine and blood testing, imaging studies and kidney biopsy. Symptoms of kidney conditions in children can be ambiguous but often include swelling of the hands and feet, puffiness around the eyes, diminished appetite, change in frequency of urination and persistent change in the color of the urine. While some kidney conditions are highly treatable and might not produce any long-lasting effects, others are chronic and may become worse over time. In some cases, kidney disease can cause additional problems, such as high blood pressure and delayed growth. Our pediatric nephrology team works with families to choose treatments that will achieve the best possible outcomes for children.

Based at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, our expert team of pediatric nephrologists, dialysis nurses and other specialized professionals is skilled at diagnosing and treating children with kidney disorders of all types. We consider the needs of families as we select from among the most advanced treatment options including inpatient, outpatient and even innovative at-home therapies. Our pediatric nephrology team has been honored on the annual U.S.News & World Report list of best children’s hospitals.

The goal of our pediatric nephrology specialists is to provide care that preserves kidney function and allows your child to lead as normal and active a lifestyle as possible. We coordinate with pediatricians and other healthcare providers to ensure effective management of your child’s health over the long term. When kidney transplant is determined to be the best option, we work closely with the IU Health pediatric transplant team to manage your child’s care before and after surgery. Additionally, through our affiliation with the Indiana University School of Medicine Division of Nephrology, our physicians help to prepare the next generation of nephrologists and conduct research on new ways to treat pediatric kidney conditions.

How We Can Help

How We Can Help

Nephrology Treatment Information

The pediatric nephrology specialists at IU Health offer services and treatment options based on current care guidelines and your family’s preferences. Examples include:

Nephrology Locations & Physicians

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Nephrology Support Services

Additional information on pediatric kidney conditions is available from a variety of national organizations. The following sites can help families to understand kidney conditions, choose appropriate treatments and find support in their communities.