Tool will help doctors assess childhood kidney disease
Feb. 9, 2020, New York, NY — Today, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) unveiled a new clinical tool for pediatric healthcare professionals to assess kidney disease progression in children and help provide more targeted care.
Kidney disease is rare in children in the United States, nevertheless, nearly 10,000 children in the country are diagnosed with kidney failure and require either dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive. Identifying and managing kidney disease, also known as chronic kidney disease (CKD), in the early stages give patients the best chance at postponing or avoiding life-threatening kidney failure.
The development of the Pediatric Risk Calculator was led by the NIH funded Chronic Kidney Disease in Children (CKiD) Study and NKF Board member Bradley A. Warady, MD, Chief of the Division of Nephrology and Director, Dialysis and Transplantation at Children’s Mercy Kansas City. The tool is specifically designed to assess kidney disease in children rather than adults and will better predict the risk of disease progression than any of the currently available tools.
“Parents and caregivers of children with kidney disease need information for planning and anticipating health care needs in the future,” said Susan Furth, MD, PhD, Chief of the Division of Nephrology and Vice Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Drs. Warady and Furth co-authored a CKiD study that was published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, which was used as the basis for the calculator.”
“This calculator, which is the result of the joint efforts of patients and providers participating in the CKiD study, uses clinical data from each patient to help predict the trajectory of that child’s kidney function,” Dr. Furth said. “This will allow appropriate timing for initiation of transplant evaluation or preparation for dialysis to achieve the best outcomes possible for children with CKD.”
The calculator is available at kidney.org and is open access to all clinicians who treat children with kidney disease. The calculator was developed through the efforts of Derek Ng, PhD. and Shuai Jiang, MS from the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. They collaborated with Drs. Warady and Furth and investigators from more than 50 pediatric kidney programs across North America on the “Chronic Kidney Disease in Children Cohort Study”, a prospective cohort investigation of children aged 6 months to 16 years with mild to moderately impaired kidney function that is funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“No child should ever have to live with the challenges of kidney disease without feeling supported,” said NKF Chief Medical Officer Joseph Vassalotti, MD. “This tool, based on the incredible work of these investigators and the rest of the CKiD study research team, will help give kids and their families the best possible chance to successfully manage their chronic kidney disease.”
“I am very pleased that the National Kidney Foundation is making the Pediatric Kidney Failure Risk Calculator widely available to healthcare professionals,” Dr. Warady said. “It is extremely rewarding to see the efforts of all those involved in the CKiD study, investigators, and patients alike, result in the development of a clinical tool that makes possible the provision of important prognostic information that can be incorporated into and enhance the treatment plan for children and adolescents with chronic kidney disease and their families.”
Each year, about 700 children receive a kidney transplant and more than 1,000 children are waiting for a donated kidney. The leading causes of kidney failure in children during 2012-2016 were congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT), cystic, hereditary, and congenital disorders, and both primary and secondary causes of glomerular disease.
Patient and Family Resources
NKF has introduced a new online pediatric community called “Parents of Children with Kidney Disease.” It is supported through the HealthUnlocked platform and is a safe and supportive space where parents can share their experiences, ask questions and get answers.
Pediatric Health Information on medications, kidney health basics, tips for parents, nutrition, and coping, are available at kidney.org/kids. NKF has also partnered with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Society of Pediatric Nephrology (ASPN) to develop additional pediatric and family content for our respective websites. Pediatric Kidney Disease Blog Series is a partnership with the Children’s Hospital Association and features NKF volunteers sharing their stories about having, growing up with, or parenting a child with pediatric CKD. Access the blogs at https://nkfadvocacy.wordpress.com/ or speaknowforkids.org/blog.
Kidney Disease Facts
In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease (CKD)—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it. 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. is at risk for chronic kidney disease. Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and family history. People who are Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander are at increased risk for developing the disease. Black or African American people are almost 4 times more likely than Whites to have kidney failure. Hispanic or Latino people are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanic or non-Latino people to have kidney failure.
About the National Kidney Foundation
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit www.kidney.org.
 Warady BA, Abraham AG, Schwartz GJ, Wong CS, Muñoz A, Betoko A, Mitsnefes M, Kaskel F, Greenbaum LA, Mak RH, Flynn J, Moxey-Mims MM, Furth S: Predictors of Rapid Progression of Glomerular and Nonglomerular Kidney Disease in Children and Adolescents: The Chronic Kidney Disease in Children (CKiD) Cohort. Am J Kidney Dis 65: 878–888, 2015.