Pediatric Nephrology

As leaders in pediatric kidney care, we offer the latest therapies and well-rounded support. Our experts advance research to make treatments safer and more effective.

Adult and child holding kidney shaped paper on textured blue background
Father And Daughter Having Consultation With Pediatrician In Hospital Office

Why choose UCLA Health for pediatric nephrology?

At the Division of Pediatric Nephrology at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, we care for babies, children and teenagers with all types of kidney disorders and disease. When you come to us, you’ll find:

Child-focused nephrology care: Our pediatric experts specialize in caring for children with kidney disease. We understand their unique needs as well as the many ways kidney disease can impact their health as they grow. With a strong focus on optimizing growth and development, we offer psychological and social support, targeted nutritional services and compassionate, comprehensive care. We address your child’s needs while offering your entire family support.  

Convenient clinics: Our team offers full-service care at several locations throughout the Los Angeles area. At outreach clinics in Ventura, Harbor-UCLA, Olive View Medical Center and Westwood, we bring our expertise close to where you live. We are committed to providing outstanding care that’s easily accessible to you and your child.

Nationally recognized program: The UCLA Health Nephrology Program is ranked among the top programs in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Successful kidney transplantation: With some of the best success rates in the country, our Pediatric Kidney Transplant Program leads the nation in volume and outcomes. More than 1,500 children have received kidney transplants at UCLA Health. Our transplant physicians and surgeons are recognized as among the best in the world. We have pioneered the latest medical advances that address the unique needs of children receiving kidney transplants, assuring optimal long-term success and normal growth and development. UCLA Health experts created the Kidney Exchange Program to improve access to living-donor transplants. Learn more about the Kidney Exchange Program.

Research and clinical trials: To improve treatments, our team conducts leading-edge research, including trials for new drugs to treat anemia and bone problems that can result from chronic kidney disease. Active clinical trials led by UCLA physicians address the most effective ways to prevent kidney transplant rejection in children. We’re also dedicated to training and educating future leaders in the field of pediatric nephrology.

Our areas of care

Our team is skilled at diagnosing and treating all types of kidney disease in children. We deliver an accurate diagnosis so we can work with you to provide effective treatments. Services we offer include:

Comprehensive treatments and support

At the UCLA Health Division of Pediatric Nephrology, we provide diagnosis and treatment for infants and children with diseases of the urinary tract and kidneys. We care for children who need kidney dialysis and children who need or have had a kidney transplant.

When the kidneys don’t work like they should, children can experience a range of issues, including learning challenges, problems with behavior and poor growth. That’s why our well-rounded approach to care includes medical treatments as well as therapy and nutritional guidance. We also offer psychosocial support, which focuses on your child’s mental, emotional and social well-being.

Care for children with specific genetic and other bone disorders in addition to those associated with kidney disease

The Pediatric Bone Program at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital brings together internationally recognized experts from pediatric nephrology, orthopedic surgery, genetics and other specialties. We care for children with mineral and bone disorders that result from chronic kidney disease (CKD).

In addition to CKD-related bone damage, we also manage and treat a wide range of other bone disorders in children with normal kidney function. These include childhood osteoporosis, which causes bones to become fragile. We also help children with specific genetic disorders that lead to bone fragility, such as osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease), rickets and other conditions.

Our expert team offers biochemical analysis, genetic testing, imaging and bone biopsy in the diagnosis and management of bone diseases. The UCLA Health Connie Frank Bone Core Laboratory is a full-service, state-of-the-art lab that processes and analyzes bone tissue. We are one of the few CLIA-certified medical centers in the nation equipped to analyze bone biopsy samples to diagnose, evaluate and treat bone disorders. CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) are a set of requirements established by federal agencies that regulate lab testing.

Pediatric kidney conditions we treat

Our team is skilled at helping children with all types of kidney disease, including chronic (long-lasting) and life-threatening disorders. We work with UCLA Health specialists, including experts in pediatric urology and pediatric endocrinology, to treat many of these conditions.

Kidney diseases cause problems with how the kidneys filter waste and toxins out of the body. We specialize in treating the full range of problems affecting the kidneys, including:

Congenital abnormalities (disorders that are present at birth): Hydronephrosis (swollen kidneys that result from urine backing up and collecting in the urinary tract) happens when there’s a blockage in the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder. We also treat other congenital kidney problems, such as kidney reflux. This happens when a faulty valve in the bladder causes urine to back up into the kidneys.

Kidney disease and chronic kidney disease (CKD): Several types of kidney disease can result from a wide range of conditions. Cystic kidney disease can be present at birth. It causes cysts (fluid-filled sacs) to develop in the kidneys. Untreated, kidney disease can lead to anemia (low levels of red blood cells), bone disease, poor growth and kidney failure.

Kidney stones: Crystals or stones can form in the kidneys, leading to severe pain. In children, kidney stones usually develop as a result of too much salt in the diet.

Nephrotic syndrome: This condition results from kidney disease. It causes abnormal amounts of protein in the urine (proteinuria) and can lead to swelling throughout the body.  In severe cases, this can occur because of inflammation in the kidneys (glomerulosclerosis/glomerulonephritis).

Systemic lupus erythematosus nephritis: This type of kidney disease results from lupus, an autoimmune disorder that causes problems with the joints, skin, brain and other organs.

Kidney treatments we offer

Our team provides the entire spectrum of the latest treatments and therapies, including inpatient and outpatient dialysis at several locations. We customize every treatment plan to meet your child’s needs. We offer:

Chronic kidney disease management, including medications for anemia or high blood pressure, dietary supplements and growth hormone as needed.

Hemodialysis, which uses a special machine that removes and filters waste from the blood, then returns it back to the body. These treatments help patients who no longer have adequate kidney function, and can be performed at our Dialysis Center or at home. We are the only medical center in Southern California that has a children’s program for home hemodialysis.

Peritoneal dialysis, which uses the lining of the belly to filter blood while it’s in the body. This treatment is performed at home.

Kidney transplantation, to implant a new kidney from a healthy donor when a patient no longer has adequate kidney function.

Nutritional guidance and lifestyle changes

Proper diet plays an essential role in managing kidney disease. Our team includes registered dietitians with specialized experience in pediatric kidney disease. We offer customized nutrition plans and guidance based on your child’s specific nutritional requirements.

We focus on the needs of our patients and their families to optimize each child’s growth, development and emotional well-being. While encouraging children to adopt a healthy lifestyle, we emphasize age-appropriate exercise and physical activity. We also assist with medication management, helping kids and families establish a routine so they’ll remember to take medications at certain times.

Meet our team

At UCLA Health, our team of board-certified doctors are internationally renowned experts in pediatric nephrology. We coordinate your child’s care with registered dietitians, pediatric surgeons and other specialists to deliver effective treatments and support.

Histomorphometry Laboratory

Renata Pereira, PhD
Renata Pereira, PhD

Contact us

Call 310-825-0867 to connect with a UCLA Health pediatric nephrologist.

Find Your Care

Our kidney specialists focus on the comprehensive needs of your child. Call 310-825-0867 to connect with a pediatric nephrology expert.

US News Best Children’s Hospital 2023-24 - Nephrology