UPMC Physician Resources

Our Program: Pediatric Nephrology

The Division of Pediatric Nephrology at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC provides a full range of services for the evaluation and management of children with simple or complex nephrologic or urologic disorders, including:

  • Complex and serious disorders resulting in end-stage renal disease requiring dialysis and/or transplantation
  • Electrolyte disturbances
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Hematuria
  • Pediatric hypertension
  • Proteinuria
  • Urinary tract infections 

Experts

The physicians and staff of the Division of Pediatric Nephrology are well equipped to provide both acute and chronic management of various kidney problems and consultative services to other departments within the hospital and to community physicians. Inpatient and outpatient consultations are available for children with electrolyte and acid-base disorders. The division offers specialized procedures for renal replacement therapy including peritoneal dialysis and hemofiltration/hemo-diafiltration (CAVH/CVVH) for acute inpatients. Staff members work closely with urologic and pediatric surgeons to provide comprehensive management of patients.

Familial Nephrotic Syndrome Study
This project aims to identify the gene or genes responsible for familial nephrotic syndrome and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Click on the links below for information about the genetics of nephrotic syndrome, frequently asked questions about this condition, and previous investigations into the genetic aspects of nephrotic syndrome. It is our hope that a new understanding of the genetic basis of nephrotic syndrome will provide insight into its treatment and contribute to early identification of individuals at risk.

For more information on the Familial Nephrotic Syndrome Study, call 412-692-5182.


Pediatric Kidney Transplantation

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC performed its first pediatric kidney transplant in 1964. Since then, Children's transplant teams have performed the surgery on hundreds of children and young adults, making it one of the most active centers in the country. The program's objective is to restore health and wellness to children suffering from end-stage renal disease.

Children's Pediatric Kidney Transplant Program, managed by the pediatric nephrology department in cooperation with a surgical team, is one of the few programs in the world that uses FK506 (also known as Prograf and Tacrolimus) as its primary immunosuppressive agent. Using FK506 has enabled the program to achieve long term patient and graft survival rates that are among the best in the world.

We also have found that FK506 provides a better quality of life for transplant recipients. For instance, children on FK are routinely taken off steroid medications after the first 6-8 months of transplant. Avoiding long term steroid use prevents side effects such as stunted growth, hirsutism (facial and body hair), and gum enlargement.

Children's Hospital's program also includes living-related kidney transplantation and liver/kidney transplantation. Children's also performed the world's first living-related pediatric kidney/bone marrow transplant.

Children's Pediatric Kidney Transplantation Program is led by:
Ron Shapiro, MD
Christina Nguyen, MD

To refer a patient, contact a clinical transplant coordinator at 412-692-5182.

Research

One of the key missions of the Division of Pediatric Nephrology is to extend the knowledge of pathophysiology of renal disease through basic laboratory and clinical research. Key nephrology research includes an investigative focus on

  • Nephropathy in type 1 diabetes
  • Nephropathy in pediatric renal transplantation outcomes
  • Proteinuria
  • Hypertension
  • Tubulointerstitial nephritis
  • Dysnatremias

Ongoing extramural grants support the investigation of the genetic epidemiology of urinary tract abnormalities and of the genetic aspects of nephrotic syndrome and of focal glomerulosclerosis. These are all common and important disorders in children. In addition Children’s researchers are conducting a biomarker-based study of BK virus, a polyoma virus, as it relates to renal allograft injury after renal transplantation in childhood.

Other nephrology research involves a study of the basic mechanisms of apoptosis in proximal tubular epithelial cells exposed to albumin to mimic the effect of proteinuric disorders in general.

Additionally, a cutting-edge research study is being done on trafficking of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator (CFTR) as it relates to chloride transport in renal epithelial cells. Another important study is investigating trafficking of nephrin in the glomerular basement membrane, an important structural protein that normally protects against proteinuria and nephrotic syndrome.