Dialysis & kidney tests & treatment

Learning that your child has a kidney disease can be overwhelming. It's a long journey for your whole family requires support from a medical team with expertise, dedication, and compassion. Whatever your child's treatment needs, Children's is proud to partner with you every step of the way.


Children who have either chronic or acute kidney disease may require dialysis, a procedure that essentially removes waste and excess water from the body when the kidneys aren't working well.

Dialysis at Children's

At Children's, we are the only Dialysis Unit in Wisconsin to offer a multidisciplinary team specifically trained in pediatric dialysis and a unique setting where children are the sole focus. Depending on your child's specific medical condition and lifestyle, we offer families all three types of dialysis:

  • Peritoneal Dialysis (for chronic and acute kidney failure)
  • Hemodialysis (for chronic and acute kidney failure)
  • Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (for acute kidney failure)

Renal program

Simply put, Children's Renal and Hypertension Program offers you and your child outstanding care for all types of kidney disease. From diagnosis through every step of treatment – including kidney transplant – our physicians, nurses and specialists work with you to meet your child's individual needs.

Renal program at Children's

Our team responds to new consultations from referring physicians around the state, region and the world. Our facilities and approach are state-of-the-art, thanks to a dedicated, multi-disciplinary team. For example, we offer coordinated care of kidney disease with complex disease such as systemic lupus erythematous (also known as lupus) with rheumatologists who treat such autoimmune disorders. In addition, we coordinate closely with Endocrine specialists who treat diabetes, to help prevent diabetic kidney disease.

Learn more about rheumatology >>
Learn more about diabetes >>

Hypertension program

As instances of obesity, metabolic syndrome and high blood pressure in children increase, so does our commitment to early diagnosis and treatment of childhood hypertension – which often affects cardiovascular health and kidney function later in adulthood if left untreated.

Hypertension program at Children's

At Children's Renal and Hypertension Clinics, we have made our diagnosis and treatment of hypertension a priority. Staying on the cutting edge of diagnosis and treatment is key to minimizing kidney damage. That's why we use 24 hour Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM) to easily and accurately diagnose and evaluate hypertension in children and adolescents. Your child wears a monitor that records information about his or her blood pressure. That information is then downloaded and diagnosed by our kidney specialists, allowing us to devise a treatment plan specifically tailored to your child's needs.

Many times, we perform this safe and non-invasive test before any other diagnostic testing is performed. Once hypertension is diagnosed, treatment with diet, medication, or other intervention will depend on your child's specific underlying condition. If weight loss is recommended our dietitian can work with you and your family to modify food choices. To achieve normal readings, we can also work with the parent, your child's school nurse, or your primary care physician to monitor blood pressure.

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) program

PKD is a rare disease that can lead to both kidney failure and liver failure. At Children's, we treat kids from all over the region – and the nation – who seek to benefit from our incomparable dedication to treating polycystic kidney disease.

PKD care at Children's

Children's is proud to have a multi-disciplinary team dedicated to diagnosing and treating all types of PKD. Our staff is led by Dr. Ellis Avner, one of the nation's leading PKD researchers. He and his team of experts, which includes specialists in liver disease and genetics, develop an individual treatment plan for your child, which may include medicine, dialysis, even transplantation.

Prenatal counseling for kidney abnormalities

Many kidney abnormalities present pre-birth, including solitary kidney, hydronephrosis, and cystic kidney disease. At Children's, we're dedicated to providing care and comfort to parents long before your child is born through our multi-disciplinary program involving obstetricians, neonatologists, and appropriate specialists.

Prenatal counseling for kidney abnormalities at Children's

Through our Fetal Concerns Program, expectant parents receive the information, support – and, if necessary, treatment – required to manage baby's kidney abnormalities. We provide prenatal counseling when a fetal kidney problem is detected and parents want more information about future expectations. At this consultation, a plan for after your child's birth will be recommended which may include further testing.

Medical management of congenital conditions

There are a wide-range of congenital kidney conditions in children, including kidney duplication, solitary kidney, cystic kidney, vesicoureteral reflux (VUR), and posterior urethral valves.

Medical management of congenital conditions at Children's

Our multi-disciplinary team is among the nation's best at diagnosing and treating all congenital conditions affecting your child's kidneys. Many congenital conditions will require a urology specialist's involvement. We partner closely with the Urology team and provide medical management when needed.

Coordination of care

Conditions such as kidney duplication, solitary kidney, cystic kidney, vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) and posterior urethral valves may sometimes require outstanding coordination of care with more than one specialty clinic.

Coordination of care at Children's

Coordinating such care is at the heart of what we do at Children's. Our approach centers on teamwork: with you and your family, and with specialists in other departments. We work closely with those departments, including pediatric urologists for children who require surgery to correct their urinary tract abnormality.

Incontinence and voiding dysfunction program

Urinary incontinence and voiding dysfunction are common problems in children. Your child is not alone. Symptoms may include:

  • Daytime wetting
  • Nighttime wetting or bedwetting
  • Voiding often
  • Not voiding often enough
  • Wiggling, dancing, squatting or holding self before going to the bathroom
  • Rushing to get to the bathroom on time
  • Multiple urinary tract infections
  • Constipation

Incontinence and voiding dysfunction program at Children's

At Children's, we've designed a joint program to provide service available in both the Urology and Renal clinics to address problems of childhood incontinence and voiding dysfunction called the Voiding Improvement Program, or "VIP." This program is designed to help you and your child address – and overcome – incontinence problems.

We start by taking a careful history and sometimes requesting that you keep a home diary of your child's urinary habits. Tests may be recommended including a kidney or bladder ultrasound and a urinalysis sample. Our providers evaluate, diagnose and treat your child in a sensitive, compassionate, caring environment. In addition to treating any underlying medical causes, we are dedicated to educating kids and their families around this issue which may help children increase their self-esteem.

Contact us

For established patients with questions about their child’s care, contact the Renal and Hypertension Clinic nurse:

(414) 266-2018

For established Dialysis patients with questions about their child’s care, contact the Dialysis Unit:

(414) 266-2840

Make an appointment

To make an appointment, call our Central Scheduling team or request an appointment online.

(877) 607-5280

Request an appointment

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Request a dialysis appointment

To request a dialysis appointment, call:

(414) 266-2840

For those needing assistance for coordinating their care with multiple sub-specialists' appointments, or for attending the PKD Clinic for the first time, please contact our Renal Clinic nurse at (414) 266-2018.