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Kidney disease



Most people are born with two kidneys, bean-shaped organs located at either side of the spine, behind the abdominal organs and below the rib cage. The kidneys play a major role in keeping you healthy by filtering waste products from normal body functions out of the blood, passing them from the body as urine, and returning water and chemicals back to the body as necessary; regulating blood pressure by releasing several hormones; and stimulating red blood cell production by releasing the hormone erythropoietin.

UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital provides consultation and treatment for children with various diseases of the urinary tract and kidney, including those resulting in kidney failure.

Some of the conditions we treat include:

  • Nephritis
  • Nephrosis
  • Hypertension
  • Electrolyte disorders
  • Disorders of calcium and phosphorus metabolism
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Kidney stone disease
  • Nutrition and growth disorders related to kidney disease
  • Kidney failure

Causes of Kidney Failure

Children's kidney diseases that can progress to moderate or severe kidney failure include:

Congenital Kidney Disease:

  • Anatomic deformities of the posterior urethral valves or bladder
  • Reflux nephropathy, a failure of the bladder's valve mechanism that results in urine backing up into the kidney
  • Renal dysplasia, or abnormal growths in the kidneys

Genetic, or Inherited, Disease:

  • Polycystic kidney disease, numerous cysts in both kidneys that destroy normal kidney tissue
  • Alport's syndrome
  • Congenital nephrotic syndrome, resulting from damage to the kidneys' filtering structures, called glomeruli

Acquired Glomerulonephritis, or inflammation of the glomeruli, the kidneys' filtering units:

  • Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, or scarring of the glomeruli
  • Vasculitis (granulomatosis with polyangiitis, polyarteritis nodosa, SLE)
  • IgA nephropathy
  • Chronic glomerulonephritis
  • Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis
  • Henoch schonlein purpura

UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your child's doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your child's provider.

Where to get care (4)

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Kidney Clinic

Kidney Clinic

San Francisco / Oakland / Fresno / Greenbrae / Modesto / Monterey / Sali...

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Kidney Transplant Program

Kidney Transplant Program

San Francisco / Fresno / Modesto / Monterey / Santa Rosa


Dialysis Unit

Dialysis Unit

1825 Fourth St., Fifth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158


Hypertension Program

Hypertension Program

1825 Fourth St., Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158

Clinical trials

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0 in progress, 1 open to new patients
Decorative Caduceus

Ferric Citrate and Chronic Kidney Disease in Children

Change in iFGF23 levels


More about this study
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Awards & recognition

  • Ranked among the nation's best in 10 specialties

Tender wagging care

Our therapy dogs spread joy and smiles at the bedside and throughout the hospital.

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