#1 Ranked Children’s Hospital by U.S. News & World Report
MyPatients provides referring primary care providers with secure access to their patients’ information.
Boston Children's has launched the world's 1st program dedicated to offering hand transplants to children who qualify.
Innovation insider is a semi-monthly e-newsletter analyzes innovations at Boston Children’s, other academic medical centers and from industry.
Read the latest blog by a Boston Children's doctor, clinician or staff member.
There are many ways you can help children and their families get the care they need.
When your child is diagnosed with acute kidney injury you may have a lot of questions:
We’ve tried to provide some answers to those questions here, and when you meet with our experts, we can fully explain your child’s condition and treatment options.
Background on the kidney
The kidney has three main functions:
Out of these functions, it’s the sudden inability to clean the blood that presents the biggest complication of AKI. If the blood isn’t being cleaned and filtered, harmful toxins may build up in the bloodstream and cause significant damage.
What’s the difference between AKI and chronic kidney disease (CKD)?
Although AKI and CKD each result in a loss of kidney function, they differ in causes, symptoms, progression and treatment approaches.
Infection, medication exposure, surgery, trauma
About half of all pediatric cases are the result of kidney or bladder abnormalities that are present at birth
Very sudden onset, usually over hours or days
CKD is often detected when a pediatrician notices protein in the urine during a routine test
Kidneys fail rapidly
Kidney failure could take days, months or years
Targeted to the underlying cause of the kidney failure
Based on how well the kidneys are functioning and strongly focused on relieving symptoms
Read more about chronic kidney disease.
What causes AKI?
AKI is often caused by a sudden decrease in blood and/or oxygen flow to your child’s kidneys. This could follow:
AKI may also occur if your child:
What are the symptoms of acute kidney injury?
Symptoms of AKI come on suddenly, over the course of hours or days. They depend on the underlying cause, but some of the most common symptoms include:
If your child has these symptoms, she may be especially at risk of AKI if she has or has had any of the following:
Q: Is my child’s condition serious?
A: AKI is a serious condition, but it's usually reversible, and kidney function can be restored once we determine—and fix—whatever is causing the problem.
Q: Will my child’s kidneys recover completely?
A: This depends on the extent of the injury. If there has been significant injury, some kidney function may be permanently lost. If, for example, your child is left with 80 percent kidney function after an episode of AKI, it will still have to do still the work of a fully functioning kidney. Working harder means the kidney is more at risk for the normal wear and tear that affects everyone’s kidneys. Even so, remember that many people live a healthy life with only one kidney.
Q: How long will my child be hospitalized?
A: This depends on the cause of your child’s AKI, how sick she is, and how she responds to treatment. We'll make sure that she is comfortable and keep you informed of her progress at all times.
Q: When will my child’s kidneys regain their functioning?
A: The length of time it takes to recover from an episode of AKI depends on many factors, including the cause, severity, how long it lasted and how much damage was done to the kidneys.
Q: What’s the long-term outlook for my child?
A: Most children with acute kidney injury get better. After an episode of AKI, your child should consider kidney care to be a permanent part of her health care routine. She should see her doctor and have her blood pressure checked and urine tested every year to make sure that her kidney function has not deteriorated. Her doctor may also recommend that she’s followed by a nephrologist (a doctor who specializes in kidneys).
In some severe episodes of AKI, particularly if your child has another disease or condition, the kidneys may not gain back normal functionality, and your child may be a candidate for long-term dialysis and/or kidney transplant.
There’s a lot of information to gather when your child is diagnosed with acute kidney injury. Here are some questions to get you started:
"Helping Your Child With Medical Experiences: A Practical Parent Guide"
Download our free booklet, “Helping Your Child with Medical Experiences: A Practical Parent Guide”. (Please note that Adobe Acrobat is required) and read about topics including:
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”