Division of Nephrology Overview

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Boston Children's Hospital's specialists in the Division of Nephrology care for infants, children, and adolescents with congenital and acquired kidney disease. We are the largest pediatric nephrology service in the United States with:

  • four specialty renal programs and services
  • 19 ongoing clinical research projects
  • 11 attending pediatric nephrologists

Our division includes a seven-bed pediatric dialysis unit for children having acute and chronic hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT).

Expertise

Our division has special expertise in the care of very young children with renal failure. We also specialize in caring for patients with complex urinary tract abnormalities who require dialysis and transplant services. We perform about:

  • 4,700 ambulatory patient visits each year
  • 6,500 chronic dialysis treatments annually
  • 20 to 25 renal transplants per year
  • 70 to 80 renal biopsies per year

Shortening the Waiting List

Boston Children's Hospital played an instrumental role in changing the way pediatric patients were listed on the organ waiting list. Thanks in part to our doctors' efforts, patients who are 18 and younger receive priority listing on the waiting list for a new kidney.

Multidisciplinary approach

As researchers continue to make new discoveries in the diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease, our division is expanding accordingly:

  • Because developmental anomalies are responsible for more than 50 percent of the causes of kidney failure in children, our division has assembled a large developmental and regenerative biology team.

  • In order to take advantage of the remarkable breakthroughs of modern genomics, we are also developing a pharmacogenomics group, which develops drugs to address children's genetic differences.

Research

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Boston Children's Division of Nephrology is dedicated to developing lasting treatments for the most serious kidney diseases affecting children.  Some of our initiatives include the following:

  • We established a Transplantation Research Center in collaboration with the Brigham and Women's Hospital with the goal of improving patients' tolerance levels for organ transplants.

  • Our researchers are investigating the vascular component of the immune response with an eye toward safer, more effective immunosuppressant protocols.

  • Our Division has developed the largest and most active kidney transplant clinical trials group in the country in order to transfer such discoveries from the bench to the bedside.

  • Our team can provide your child with state-of-the-art diagnosis, treatment and management of her condition. And, when appropriate, we work with specialists at other hospitals to ensure that your child receives comprehensive and coordinated care through her adulthood.

Innovation for FSGS

Our researchers, in collaboration with researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital, have identified an important gene for segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a devastating kidney disease that is the second leading cause of kidney failure in children. This discovery may provide clues to developing treatments for the disease, for which there are currently no effective treatments.

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News

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Gene for devastating kidney disease discovered

Researchers from Boston Children's Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital have identified an important genetic cause of a devastating kidney disease that is the second leading cause of kidney failure in children, according to The NephCure Foundation.

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Patient stories

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Needing dialysis

You'd never guess that this boy, who's always ready to make others laugh, has seen so much hardship of his own. Growing up in strife-ridden Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia, and living for a time in a refugee camp, Richmond and his family immigrated to the United States three-and-a-half years ago through a refugee program that placed them in Worcester, Mass.

Just as then-7-year-old Richmond was adjusting to his new life at the start of the school year in September 2003, he lost his appetite and began to experience severe bouts of vomiting. Shortly thereafter, he was diagnosed with chronic renal failure and began needing dialysis.

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Innovations

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At Boston Children's Hospital, we aim to solve some of the world’s greatest pediatric health problems. Some ways we do this stem from scientific research: Understanding diseases deeply—even at the cellular or molecular level—leads to new drugs and therapies. Other discoveries arise from moments spent at patients’ bedsides, when doctors and nurses see opportunities to improve care.

This approach, which we call “clinical innovations,” often requires us to develop entirely new tools or come up with inventive strategies. This creative form of innovation is the path by which many major improvements in health care have been made.

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Quality and safety

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At Boston Children’s Hospital , we believe that patients and families deserve to know whether the hospital where they have chosen to receive their care meets the highest standards and is committed to excellence. 

Through our Program for Patient Safety and Quality, we continually monitor and improve the care we provide to our patients. Since the diseases and chronic conditions that affect children and adolescents are quite different from those of adults, it is often not appropriate to use adult measures to evaluate the quality of pediatric care. 

That’s why we have taken a leadership role in developing scientifically sound methods to measure the quality of care provided to all children and adolescents.

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Request an Appointment

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This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

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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
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