NEW HYDE PARK, NY -- A local pediatric nephrologist says the dialysis machine created by Italian researchers to serve newborns is another reminder that kidney disease can happen at any age and that it requires a lot of support and care.
“Kidney failure can happen at any age,” says Nataliya Chorny, MD, a pediatric nephrologist at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park. “Dialysis, or another term that we use is renal replacement therapy or RRT, can be done at any age. These people need a lot of support, care, medical expertise and ample resources. But through that, they can have positive outcomes.”
Dr. Chorny says her facility has a machine that can be adapted to be used on newborns. To do this, the tubes that move the blood between the patient and the machine need to be smaller and narrower, the connector pieces need to be smaller and the filter also has to be smaller.
The incidence of kidney disease in newborns is rare, but Cohen Children’s Medical Center does see about one or two per year. The incidence of kidney disease in children is about 10 to 15 per million children, Dr. Chorny says.
For newborns, peritoneal dialysis can sometimes be used, which involves a smaller machine and uses the person’s abdomen cavity to cleanse the blood. But if the newborn has a rare bleeding disorder; abdomen or bowel issues; or another congenital issue, hemodialysis, which uses the machine to clean the blood, is necessary.
“In order to dialyze a patient safely, one needs to create a certain blood flow rate and all a small percent of the blood volume to remain in the dialysis machine circuit,” Dr. Chorny says. “A person can’t lose blood too rapidly hence these two parameters have to be safely calculated individually for each patient.”