UC Davis Children’s Hospital recently opened a new pediatric dialysis center, where patients and their families will be trained on home-based peritoneal dialysis and receive follow-up care. The children’s hospital is the only hospital in the region to offer outpatient dialysis for patients under 10 years of age or 44 pounds.
Peritoneal dialysis is a process in which blood is cleaned through the peritoneal cavity, the membrane-lined space that separates the organs in the abdominal cavity from the abdominal wall.
In peritoneal dialysis, a dialysis machine called a cycler runs each night, performing exchanges, while the patient sleeps. During the day, the patient or caregiver unhooks them from the machine and they are free to go to school or play. Peritoneal dialysis is a bridge to kidney transplant – the ultimate goal for pediatric patients.
“We’re very excited to be able to offer this to our patients for the first time,” said Maha Haddad, associate professor of pediatrics and director of pediatric dialysis at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “We are happy to provide care to families who previously had to travel outside of the region.”
UC Davis Children’s Hospital is the only pediatric nephrology program in the greater Sacramento area, and patients travel from as far away as the Oregon border and Reno.
The pediatric dialysis care team includes a pediatric nephrologist, peritoneal dialysis nurse, nutritionist or dietitian and social worker. Patients and their family typically spend a week to 10 days in peritoneal dialysis training. Once they’ve completed training, patients continue with follow-up care every month.
“Our team works with the caregivers to ensure that they are comfortable and to ensure a safe and stress-free environment for both the family and the child –the most important member of the team,” Haddad said.
In May, the pediatric dialysis team welcomed their first patient, 4-year-old Daniela Jimenez.