Pediatric Dialysis & In-Center Hemodialysis

Lurie Children’s Dialysis Program treats patients with end-stage kidney disease (or ESKD) and has the only free-standing pediatric dialysis unit in the state of Illinois. We opened a 10-station hemodialysis unit that also contains our home-based peritoneal dialysis unit, in the vicinity of the hospital for outpatient dialysis needs. We partner with DaVita, the largest adult dialysis provider in the nation, to leverage extensive data and research to constantly improve our program and services to the pediatric populations we serve.

Dialysis is used to remove waste, as well as regulate chemicals in the bloodstream. We provide in-center hemodialysis, as well as training and care for home-based peritoneal and hemodialysis, as required by our patients. We treat the youngest babies through adolescents.

The Lurie Children’s Difference

Research is an important component of our program, allowing us to maintain the highest levels of care. Making research a priority can create advancements in medical treatment within a child’s lifetime. Through our partnership with DaVita, access to dialysis-specific data allows us to evaluate quality in unique ways to improve our program and produce the best outcomes for our patients. DaVita also partners with selected, high-quality pediatric hospitals around the country, which allows Lurie Children’s to be the leader of a national pediatric program that relies on outcomes-based research. Working with this research-powered group will help us continually adapt our dialysis treatment to best fit children’s needs.

Pediatric dialysis prescriptions are usually based on adult standards, not tailored to body surface area, which can lead to underdialysis in our patients. Our research has shown that dialysis calculated using body surface area is a more effective method for treating children. Therefore, we’ve based our pediatric dialysis program on the results of that study, leading to excellent outcomes.

At Lurie Children’s, we not only treat those children with irreversible loss of kidney function, but those children in whom a temporary loss of kidney function termed acute kidney injury (AKI) occurs. As a result, we have partnered with the Heart Center’s cardiac care intensivists in the Regenstein Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) and Lefkofsky Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), in addition to other areas in the hospital, to identify patients that may be at risk for AKI so we can proactively treat them and help prevent serious complications.

Often, children with AKI need continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) and we offer state-of-the-art CRRT through our partnership with DaVita. We offer CRRT around-the-clock so that we can provide the best possible care to our patients.

For other, special medical conditions, we also provide innovative care including plasmapheresis for many auto-immune disorders including myasthenia gravis, and lipopheresis, for inborn errors of cholesterol metabolism, each through our partnership with DaVita.

What to Expect

Our dedicated dialysis team includes board-certified pediatric nephrologists, as well as nurses, dieticians and a social workers who specialize in treating and caring for children with chronic kidney disease. In our program, chronic dialysis is typically offered as an outpatient service. We integrate care from the hospital with our outpatient dialysis center, creating a smooth transition for our families and patients. Our goal is to treat the whole child and not just a condition; we continually monitor growth and development to ensure that each child’s future is on track.

Adolescents who are treated in our program receive specialized services and support that are uncommon at adult treatment facilities. We offer support services like therapy and education for our adolescent patients, in addition to customized medical services. We have found that adolescent patients at Lurie Children’s require less transplants than adult patients at other facilities.

Our Specialists

Mahima Keswani, MD

Attending Physician, Nephrology (Kidney Diseases)

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Nephrology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Priya Verghese, MD, MPH

Division Head, Nephrology (Kidney Diseases); Medical Director, Pediatric Kidney Transplant Program; Isaac A. Abt, MD Professorship in Kidney Diseases

Professor of Pediatrics (Nephrology), Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine


If you’d like to request an appointment with one of our specialists, call 1.800.543.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC®) or visit our Appointments page for more information.

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