Child Health, News Ben Brown | 7 years ago

Record Breaking Number of Kidney Transplants at Levine Children’s Hospital

Levine Children’s Hospital, which operates one of the largest dialysis units in the country, is on track to have a record breaking number of kidney transplants in 2014. By the end of August of 2014, the pediatric nephrology department will have performed 14 transplants. For comparison, Wake Forest, East Carolina and Duke each did four transplants during all of 2013. Susan Massengill, MD, director of pediatric nephrology at Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital, says the dialysis unit performed over six thousand dialysis treatments. It remains the only dedicated pediatric unit in North and South Carolina.  “We are fortunate that dialysis serves as a bridge to kidney transplant while we wait the opportune time for transplant,” Dr. Massengill said. Barriers to transplant include age, size, and activity of the disease that may have caused the kidney failure and availability of appropriate donors.  With advances in technology, infants can now live on dialysis until they are big enough to undergo a kidney transplant which is usually between 18 to 24 months of age. Dr. Massengill is excited about the growth and progress of the nephrology department at Levine Children’s Hospital and is dedicated to providing the best treatment for pediatric kidney patients. “Our center is continuously participating in many national studies and dialysis trials to help improve the long term outcome for children and adolescents either on dialysis or with kidney transplants,” Dr. Massengill said. “We strive to give our patients the best quality of life possible in the face of chronic disease. Our goal is to be the place that parents want to have their child to have a kidney transplant performed because they know they have the best chances of success with us.” Many people are still unaware that kidney disease can affect the pediatric population from infancy to adolescence. Unfortunately without routine checkups by the pediatrician or family doctor a child with the disease can go undiagnosed for quite some time, as many of the symptoms are silent.  Easy screening tools include blood pressure measurements and urine checks and review of family history. “There have been huge advances in the care of chronic kidney disease,” Dr. Massengill said. “We have more options for medications and better medications, better treatments and tremendous success with our living donor program.” In June of 2014, Levine Children's Hospital was once again been named by U.S. News & World Report as a "Best Children's Hospital" in the nation for care in pediatric nephrology. This is the fifth time Levine Children’s Hospital has been recognized as a "Best Children's Hospital" for excellence in pediatric nephrology. Levine Children’s Hospital is the only children’s hospital in the Charlotte area to be recognized by U.S. News & World Report.