Renal Dialysis

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Kidney dialysis is available for children experiencing late-stage chronic kidney disease. Dialysis is a treatment in which a machine functions as the kidneys, removing waste and excess water from the blood. Norton Children’s Nephrology, affiliated with UofL School of Medicine, offers children and teens dialysis care.

Our Renal Dialysis and Kidney Transplant Clinic offers coordinated care for children and teens undergoing hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis. Our clinic is staffed by a team that includes a psychologist, dietitian, social workers and care coordinators dedicated to children and families going through dialysis and the process of kidney transplantation.

Types of Dialysis

Two types of dialysis are available:

  • Peritoneal dialysis: Peritoneal dialysis works by filling the child’s abdomen with a solution called dialysate via a catheter (tube) inserted near the navel. Dialysate then absorbs waste from the blood and drains out of the abdomen. This process is known as an “exchange.” The child is hooked up nightly to the dialysis machine, and it will cycle through multiple exchanges during a period of time determined by a child’s pediatric nephrologist. Peritoneal dialysis can be performed at home.
  • Hemodialysis: With this type of dialysis, the child is connected to a machine called a dialyzer. The dialyzer takes blood out of the body in a continuous process, cleaning and filtering it, then returning it to the body’s bloodstream. The child is hooked up to the machine by an access point, which is an opening for blood to flow to the machine to be filtered, then sent back into the body after filtration. An access point can be:
    • A catheter
    • An arteriovenous (AV) fistula, a place where a surgeon has connected two blood vessels in a child’s arm. This type of access point is used for longer-term dialysis.

Hemodialysis is available at Norton Children’s Hospital and the Novak Center for Children’s Health, both in downtown Louisville, Kentucky.

The pediatric nephrologists with Norton Children’s Nephrology will work with you to choose the dialysis treatment for your child’s unique needs.

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