Kids with kidney failure are better off than most people imagined, according to new research released this week. The study showed that survival rates in children on dialysis have improved over the last two decades, in the United States. Death from cardiovascular and infectious diseases has decreased in this population and the care of children with kidney diseases has improved over this period of time.
Why has this happened? Researchers aren’t 100% sure, but those of us in the field believe that registries established by pediatricians to collect and disseminate data on all children on dialysis has certainly contributed to improvements in the care of children. These registries have allowed physicians to share important information throughout North America, and in some instances, internationally. Better approaches to preventing infections in children on dialysis as well as better control of hypertension and other cardiovascular risk factors have no doubt also contributed to the decrease in mortality. Additionally, doctors are working to provide early kidney transplantation to these children to minimize time on dialysis –another measure that improves survival.
Dr. Beth Piraino is the President of the National Kidney Foundation.