How is ESRD treated?
Regardless of its underlying specific cause, ESRD will eventually require a kidney transplant. If a transplant can't be performed in a timely manner, we will use regular dialysis until a transplant has become available.
Dialysis usually comes in two forms: blood dialysis called hemodialysis (HD) or "tummy" dialysis called peritoneal dialysis (PD). Both HD and PD require a surgically placed tube to access the kidney. In the case of HD, we connect the plastic tube to a blood vessel and in the case of PD, we connect the tube through the abdomen. Both tubes have a segment that sticks out of the patient's skin.
For HD, the session takes several hours and is done several days a week in our HD unit in our Kidney Care Center. For PD, you can provide it at home on a nightly basis, while your child sleeps. In this case, your family must receive initial training. Overall, this form of dialysis allows your family to preserve more normal daily routines. Both types of dialysis only substitute the lost kidney function for a limited time and patients need to take supporting medications, follow a special diet and undergo routine laboratory monitoring.
A kidney transplant can provide kidney function that is closer to normal than a kidney on dialysis and should therefore be the ultimate goal for patients with ESRD. Patients who have received a kidney transplant still need to take medications, live a healthy lifestyle and undergo routine laboratory monitoring. However, the health and quality of life tend to be considerably better for a child who has received a transplant compared to one who must undergo regular dialysis.
Why choose us for treatment of ESRD?
Children's Hospital Colorado has the only dialysis program in the region dedicated exclusively to children. Our highly specialized team of nurses, dietitians, social workers, pharmacists and doctors is experienced in providing care specifically for pediatric patients with ESRD and CKD.
We also have one of the largest pediatric kidney transplant programs in the country and are the only pediatric kidney transplant center in the region. When it comes to laboratory testing and evaluations for transplant, we provide sensitive, child-friendly approaches to make kids feel safe and comfortable.
If it does come to the point where surgery is necessary, our entire anesthesia team is pediatric trained, and our Child Life team works with your child and your family to help you feel confident and informed about the procedure.