Kidney Inflammation

Pediatric glomerulonephritis is a condition that affects the glomeruli – tiny blood vessels in the kidneys that filter waste and remove excess fluids.

Glomeruli are microscopic filters the start the process of urine formation. Each kidney has about one million glomeruli. If they become inflamed and infected, it can lead to glomerular damage, known as glomerulonephritis, and cause blood and protein to become lost in the urine.

There are two main types of pediatric glomerulonephritis:

  • Acute pediatric glomerulonephritis comes on suddenly, often as part of another disease like lupus or strep throat. The condition is triggered by an infection that causes your immune system to overreact or, in rare cases, inflammation of your blood vessels.
  • Chronic pediatric glomerulonephritis develops slowly over time. It does not always have a clear cause, but it may tend to run in families.

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

Symptoms of pediatric glomerulonephritis include:

  • Blood in your urine
  • Foamy urine
  • Swelling of your face, ankle’s, feet, legs, abdomen or eyes
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in your vomit or stools
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea and excess urination
  • Cough and shortness of breath
  • Joint or muscle aches

Tests to identify the inflammation and infection of pediatric glomerulonephritis include:

  • Blood tests to measure levels of accumulated waste products.
  • Urine test to determent the presence of red blood cells.
  • Imaging tests like CT scan or X-ray to visualize your kidneys and detail any damage.
  • Kidney biopsy to help determine the cause of the inflammation.

With proper treatment, the kidney damage from acute pediatric glomerulonephritis can often heal itself. Chronic pediatric glomerulonephritis may require special medication to help control the inflammation and prevent further damage. Severe cases may result in chronic kidney disease and even end-stage kidney disease.

Our Experts in Care

The team of pediatric glomerulonephritis experts at Penn State Children’s Hospital includes doctors, nurses, social workers and dietitians working together to provide comprehensive, multidisciplinary care that improves your quality of life.

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Why Choose Penn State Children’s Hospital for Care

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Penn State Children's Hospital is proud to be one of the nation's top children's hospitals.

  • U.S. News and World Report has ranked us as one of the best children’s hospitals every year. Learn more about our rankings. We are one of only 84 children's hospitals recognized in any specialty.
  • We are one of eight hospitals in the country, and the only one in Pennsylvania, to be named as a Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center by The American College of Surgeons (ACS) for excellence in pediatric surgical care.

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