Nephrology deals with the diagnosis and treatment of kidney problems. Seattle Children's is a national leader in caring for babies, children and teens with kidney conditions, including the most complex disorders. We have a transplant program, as well as the only dialysis unit in the region just for babies, children and teens. All of Seattle Children's nephrology programs focus on the special needs of growing children with kidney disease.

Our doctors, nurses, dietitians and social workers believe in working with you to provide complete care that meets the unique needs of your child and family. Along with providing state-of-the-art treatment, we offer follow-up care and support services that include home dialysis training, summer camp for children with kidney disorders, a newsletter and special activities planned just for children and their families.

Awards and Recognition

USNWR 2017 119x145 In 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked Seattle Children’s as the #1 nephrology program in the West – and #5 in the nation.

Optum’s Clinical Sciences Institute named our kidney transplant program as a Center of Excellence in 2016.

Conditions We Treat

  • Many conditions can cause blood to show up in urine, a condition called hematuria. Often these conditions do not lead to lasting problems. But because blood in urine may be a sign of serious kidney problems, children with hematuria should see a doctor.

  • End-stage kidney disease, also called end-stage renal disease, occurs when the kidneys no longer work well enough to keep a person alive on their own. Doctors often define the condition as having kidney function that is less than 15 percent of normal for a child's size and weight. Without dialysis or a kidney transplant, end-stage kidney disease causes serious problems and leads to death. Read more.

  • Some kidney diseases come from problems with genes or chromosomes that are passed down within families. These genetic diseases include polycystic kidney disease (PKD), in which many fluid-filled cysts develop in the kidneys and limit how well they function.

  • Glomerulonephritis and interstitial nephritis cause swelling and redness (inflammation) in parts of the kidney. This makes it harder for the kidney to separate wastes and extra fluid from the blood. It can cause swelling (edema), blood in the urine, high blood pressure and fatigue. This can sometimes lead to lifelong (chronic) kidney disease.

  • Hemolytic uremic syndrome causes sudden, short-term kidney failure in children. While severe cases often require some dialysis sessions, most children recover without lasting damage. HUS most often occurs after an infection with the E. coli bacterium. Read more. (PDF)

  • While high blood pressure is more common in adults, children and teens can develop the problem too. If untreated, over time high blood pressure can damage many organs of the body, including the heart, brain, kidneys and eyes. The normal range for blood pressure depends on your child's sex, age and height. Read more about our Hypertension Clinic.

  • Kidney failure happens when the kidneys can no longer remove all of the wastes from the blood. Kidney failure can either be lifelong (chronic) or sudden (acute). Chronic disease usually develops slowly. Your child may not show any symptoms until the kidneys are not doing their job and can remove only a small amount of waste. Children with acute kidney failure sometimes need dialysis treatments until their kidneys begin to work again. Children with chronic kidney failure need dialysis or a kidney transplant.

  • Kidney stones form when solid materials in urine build up in the kidneys and urinary tract. Small stones can pass out of the body on their own. Large stones can cause problems. They can be very painful when they block the kidney or the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. Kidney stones are more common in adults, but children can get them, too.

  • Nephrotic syndrome occurs when large amounts of protein get into the urine, leaving low levels in the blood. Blood proteins act like a sponge, helping water to stay inside your child's blood vessels. When protein gets into urine, not enough is left in the blood, and water moves into body tissues, causing them to swell.

  • Proteinuria means that urine contains more protein than usual. Most proteins are too big to go through the kidneys' filters, so too much protein in urine may be a sign of a kidney problem.

Subspecialties We Offer

  • Seattle Children’s Acute Kidney Injury Clinic screens patients at risk for kidney damage before they go home from the hospital. Kidneys may be harmed by:

    • Certain medicines
    • Low blood flow to the kidneys
    • Infections
    • Very high blood pressure
    • Liver disorders

    Follow-up with the kidney doctor is very important because your child may not show any signs at first. Damaged kidneys are less able to clean the blood. This can lead to a build-up of waste and fluid in the body. "Acute injuries" means the kidneys are suddenly not able to work normally. Children who have cancer, infections or heart problems, or had a surgery are most at risk.

  • Seattle Children’s offers an Autoimmune Kidney Disease Clinic that diagnoses and treats babies, children and teens with autoimmune disease that affects the kidneys. Read more.

  • A child whose kidneys do not work normally may need dialysis to filter waste and extra fluids from the blood. Seattle Children’s offers dialysis for patients who are staying in the hospital and for those who are not. Read more.

  • Our Kidney Stones Clinic is the only program in Washington state to focus on diagnosing and treating children and teens with kidney stones. We help get rid of stones your child has now. We also work with you and your child to prevent new ones. Patients can be seen by their entire health team in the same room, at the same time, to get complete care. Our team includes a dietitian plus doctors and nurses with special training in treating the kidneys (nephrology) and urinary tract (urology). Read more.

  • The Kidney Transplant Program at Seattle Children's Hospital provides compassionate, state-of-the-art care to children who have kidney disease. Seattle Children's is one of the top five kidney transplant centers in the United States. For children and teens with kidney failure, we provide care before, during and after kidney transplant. Read more.

  • Seattle Children's Pediatric Hypertension program is the only program in the region dedicated to evaluating and treating children and teens with high blood pressure. Read more.

  • Renovascular hypertension is high blood pressure due to narrowing of the arteries that carry blood to the kidneys (called renal artery stenosis). Seattle Children’s Renovascular Hypertension Program provides expertise and care from a team of pediatric specialists who are highly skilled in treating vascular problems affecting the kidneys. Read more.

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