- Pediatric Nephrology
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East Tennessee Children's Hospital
2018 W Clinch Ave
Knoxville, TN 37916
865-541-8000

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Pediatric Nephrologist and Patient

Pediatric Nephrology

Pediatric nephrology is the treatment of kidney-related problems in children. The kidney is at the top of the urinary tract above the ureter, urinary bladder and urethra. The pediatric nephrology and urology subspecialists work very closely to treat patients.

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Children's Hospital Nephrology Expertise

Kidneys

While adult kidney doctors usually take care of patients with diabetes-related or chronic hypertension-related kidney problems, pediatric kidney doctors find and treat kidney issues that happen earlier in life. The doctors and nurses at East Tennessee Children's Hospital are trained to work with children and understand the special needs of a younger population in the hospital setting.

Hospitals can be scary for children. Our staff knows that they must make children feel comfortable. Patients are able to choose a special toy to bring home at the end of each appointment. The brightly colored, clean setting also makes children feel safer. The Children's Hospital's Nephrology Department works with endocrinology, gastroenterology, nutritional services and the weight management clinic to make sure your child gets the best care.

Common Kidney Issues and Treatment for Kids

The most common issues pediatric kidney doctors see are:

  • Blood or protein in the urine
  • Congenital kidney problems
  • Urine infection
  • Bladder problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Swelling
  • Kidney stones
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Decreased kidney function
  • Abnormal blood test results
Kidney Structure

The kidney team usually conducts:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Ultrasounds of the kidneys
  • CT scans
  • MRIs

Your Appointment with the Nephrologist

Doctor Checks Patient's Kidney

At your appointment, the nephrologist will ask you about family history and symptoms. He will then do a physical evaluation based on your child's complaints. The appointment will determine whether further testing is required.

After your appointment, the doctor may order a kidney biopsy. During a biopsy, the doctor obtains a small piece of the kidney to study. The biopsy is not an operation. It does involve anesthesia to reduce pain that may occur and put children to sleep during the procedure. The anesthesia is given through an I.V. The biopsy's results will show whether or not your child's kidney is functioning normally. If not, your child's kidney may be affected by an infection, poor blood flow or a kidney-related disease. The doctor may suggest acute hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis for your child. This dialysis care is not chronic and will help your child remove wastes from the blood, remove extra fluid from the body and restore the correct balance of electrolytes in the blood.


If you think your child may have kidney problems, talk to your pediatrician about being referred to a Children's Hospital specialist near you.