Occasionally children's kidneys stop working properly. Sometimes it happens suddenly from illness or injury and sometimes it happens over time, from a condition called end-stage kidney disease. Fortunately, there are treatment options for your child.
At Cook Children's, we provide a full range of dialysis therapy to take over blood cleaning for the kidneys. Some options allow the kidneys to rest and recover, while others support your child until a transplant becomes available. We help your family find the right type of dialysis for your child. And we provide complete support along the way.
Who needs dialysis?
The main job of kidneys is to clean the blood. They do this by taking out extra water and waste (things the body doesn't need). These leave the body as urine.
If the kidneys don't work as they should, waste quickly builds up in the body and makes a person sick. When the kidneys stop removing enough waste and extra water from the blood, the person has kidney failure. Then, the person needs dialysis to clean the blood because the kidneys can't.
Dialysis does the work of the kidneys to clean the blood, but it doesn't fix or cure kidney failure.
Some kids with sudden or acute kidney failure need dialysis for a short time until the kidneys get better. But if chronic kidney disease turns into kidney failure, the child's kidneys will not get better. These kids need dialysis for life, unless they get a kidney transplant.
What are the types of pediatric dialysis treatment?
Before starting treatment, our team meets with you and your child to discuss options. Together, we select the option that meets your child's needs and your family's needs.
All dialysis options require us to implant a catheter (a hollow tube) in the body. This step gets completed during a short procedure, with your child receiving sedation.
We may use other types of tubes to provide access for therapy as well. Before taking such steps, we thoroughly discuss our recommendations with you.
End-stage kidney disease means the kidneys can no longer function properly. It occurs after chronic kidney disease has damaged the kidneys over time.
Dialysis provides a way to replace some of the lost kidney function. While not as effective as the original kidneys, dialysis can help your child until a kidney transplant becomes available. We offer two dialysis options for children with end-stage kidney disease, hemodialysis and pertoneal dialysis.
For hemodialysis, blood is pumped to a machine outside the body, cleaned and returned. To use this option, your child comes to our Dialysis Center three to four times a week. Each session lasts about three hours. During treatment, your child can watch movies, play with toys or tackle schoolwork.
Peritoneal dialysis also uses a machine, but it pumps cleaning solution into the peritoneal cavity in the belly. The solution pulls out waste from nearby blood vessels. Your child can receive treatment while sleeping, then follow a normal daytime routine. We provide training so you're comfortable using the equipment.
Before dialysis treatment begins, we teach you and your child about the process. We also give you a tour of our Dialysis Center. And we show you the equipment used during therapy.
If your child has a severe illness or injury that causes sudden loss of kidney function, we can help.
Continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT)
Our team has deep experience treating this problem, known as acute kidney injury. We provide care in our intensive care units (ICUs) using continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT).
The treatment works like other types of dialysis. Your child is sedated before our pediatric surgeons place a catheter in the body. The catheter gets connected to a filtering machine.
Treatment is done slowly and continuously, so the kidneys can recover and begin functioning normally again. Our ICU nurses closely monitor your child throughout treatment. We keep you updated on your child's progress.
For babies who weigh less than 22 pounds we offer aquapheresis. This therapy is like CRRT, but is tailored to meet the unique needs of infants and babies.
Choosing Cook Children's Dialysis Center
Our pediatric nephrology team has specialized training caring for children who need dialysis. During treatment, we ensure that your child gets the nutrition and support needed for healthy growth and development. As members of the SCOPE Dialysis Collaborative, a group of leading medical centers, we follow standard guidelines and provide high quality care.
Our team includes specialized caregivers ready to support your child and family.
- Child Life specialists
- Clinical therapists
- Dialysis nurses
- Social workers
Full range of care
We offer a full range of treatment options for children whose kidneys aren't functioning properly. Dialysis treatments help remove extra fluid and waste that the kidneys normally process. We provide dialysis until your child's kidneys recover or a kidney transplant becomes available. Our team partners with colleagues in urology to provide care before, during and after transplant surgery.
Convenient and timely access
Our Dialysis Center is located at our medical center in Fort Worth. Your child can also receive follow-up care at locations throughout the Metroplex. We offer telehealth visits so you can easily reach your child's care team. And you can contact us any time by phone or through the MyCookChildren's patient portal.
We're here to help
If you have questions or you'd like to schedule an appointment, refer a patient or speak to our team, call our offices at 682-885-4560.