What childhood kidney problems require critical care treatment?

Louise E. Sivak, MD

Any kidney problem that results in respiratory compromise or severe acid-base imbalance or other organ failure will require critical care. Since the kidneys are responsible for filtering waste products from the blood and regulating fluid and electrolyte balance in the body, a significant decrease in kidney function can result in severe metabolic complications. Primary kidney problems in childhood include glomerulonephritis and polycystic kidney disease; both of these conditions can progress to severe kidney failure requiring critical care. In addition, many systemic conditions can affect the kidneys secondarily due to loss of blood flow to the kidneys and/or the production of high levels of waste products that must be filtered.

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