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Pediatric Nephrology - Nephrotic syndrome

​​​Nephrotic (related to a kidney disease) syndrome is a set of symptoms that identify a lack of protein in the blood due to protein loss in the urine. 

These symptoms can point to kidney problems in children. Your child may experience swelling due to build-up of salt and water in the body, decreased trips to the bathroom and weight gain. 

Marshfield Clinic has a team of specialists trained in diagnosis and treatment of nephrotic syndrome in children.


Treatments for nephrotic syndrome may include:

An important tool in the management of children with the nephrotic syndrome is following a low sodium diet and restriction of fluid intake when the nephrotic syndrome is active. 

Marshfield Clinic can provide diet consultation for children with this condition.

The majority of children with nephrotic syndrome will respond to prednisone. This medication is very effective but may have side effects such as excessive appetite, high blood pressure and poor growth. 

Because of this, the pediatric nephrology team works closely with the child and their family to select alternative medications when needed.

Renal Biopsy
Most children with the nephrotic syndrome have a disorder called minimal change disease. If a child has a poor response to medication, then a renal (kidney) biopsy may be recommended to determine other forms of nephrotic syndrome. 

This test is valuable in guiding therapy in some children.

Dialysis and Transplantation
In some cases, when the diagnosis is more severe, a child may need to begin kidney dialysis in order to remove waste from the blood by surgical placement of a tube into the patient's abdomen. 

When kidney damage is too great to heal, transplantation may be an option.

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