Conditions + Treatments

Acute Kidney Injury in Children

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"An important part of our success has been the fact that we're always asking ourselves "Is this the best we can do? Are there new things that we can do? Can we change things? Can we take the approach we're using and make it better? Can we take a brand new approach to these things?"

William Harmon, MD, medical director, Kidney Transplant Program


There are several things that might make your child’s kidneys suddenly stop working, including infections, disruption of blood flow, surgery or exposure to medications or other substances that are toxic to the kidneys. This is known as acute kidney injury (AKI).

  • AKI is often caused by a sudden decrease in blood and/or oxygen flow to your child’s kidneys.
  • Symptoms may appear over the course of hours or days.
  • AKI typically requires your child to stay in the hospital, but it’s very treatable and in the vast majority of cases the child’s kidneys recover.

The Boston Children’s Hospital approach

Our Division of Nephrology is the largest pediatric nephrology service in the United States. We care for patients with a wide range of kidney disorders, and we are home to the biggest dialysis and  kidney transplant program in New England dedicated to treating and caring for children.

Our seven-bed dialysis unit is the only full-service pediatric dialysis unit in New England. If your child requires dialysis, our dialysis nurses, dieticians, tutors Child Life specialists, social workers, psychologists and pharmacists will do everything they can to make sure your child is comfortable during her treatments. Read more about dialysis.

Boston children's caregivers know your child is a person, not just a patient, and we provide support services for your child and your family throughout all stages of treatment and recovery.

Boston Children’s Hospital ranked first in treating kidney disorders

Boston Children's Orthopedic Center has been ranked #1 in treating kidney disorders in the U.S.News and World Report.


The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO