Nephrology is a branch of medical science that deals with diseases of the kidneys.
The kidneys are vital for life as they perform the essential functions of removing excess water and waste products from the blood. Additionally, they regulate the body’s fluid, electrolyte, and acid-base levels that are altered by several disease conditions as also by drugs and toxins.
When both kidneys can no longer take care of the above functions, i.e. at end stage kidney disease , dialysis, which is a treatment performing some of functions done by healthy kidneys, is necessitated. Dialysis removes waste, salt and extra water to prevent them from building up in the body. It retains a safe level of certain chemicals in the blood, such as potassium, sodium and bicarbonate besides helping to control blood pressure. One needs dialysis usually by the time one loses about 85 to 90 percent of one’s kidney function and has a GFR of <15.
Gulf Diagnostics Center Hospital has a well-equipped State-of-The-Art Dialysis Unit with experienced staff, with the capacity to provide dialysis care with a caring, patient-centered approach.
Diagnosis of kidney problems is arrived at after the following tests:
- Blood tests which reveal raised or altered levels of urea, creatinine and electrolytes including sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphates, blood urea nitrogen, etc.
- Urine analysis, which may reveal excess proteins that are being excreted along with urine from the body. This is a sign of kidney damage that is especially seen in diabetic nephropathy or in long term kidney diseases.
- Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR), a test to estimate level of kidney function and determine stage of chronic kidney disease. In clinical practice, estimation of GFR is based on serum creatinine, age, gender.
- Ultrasound scanning, one of the commonest and most used non-invasive imaging studies for kidneys diseases such as hydronephrosis (obstruction of kidneys), polycystic kidney disease, kidney stones, etc.
- Other imaging studies, including:
- Computed Tomography scan (CT scan) or Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. This can also help detect renal tumors and cancer.
- MR angiography to detect abnormalities in the blood vessels within the kidneys
- Renal biopsy: If a kidney lesion is detected, a small amount of renal tissue is taken using long thin hollow needles under the guidance of ultrasound or other imaging studies.
- In patients with normal kidney function, Intravenous urography (IVU), a test where an iodinated contrast dye is injected into the veins of the person, which is then imaged using X rays or other imaging studies like CT scan to detect the flow of the blood and formation of urine in the kidneys as well as its outflow as it traverses through the kidneys.
- Scintigraphy, another test using radioactive isotopes that helps detecting abnormal functions of the kidney and its vessels.
- Renal Arteriography involves insertion of a thin catheter into the femoral artery and under guidance through an imaging study.
Consultants Nephrologists at the Department of Nephrology at Gulf Diagnostics Center Hospital are well-trained to deal with the following diseases that come under the scope of Nephrology:
- Secondary high blood pressure diagnosis and treatment
- Urine abnormalities, which include excess excretion of protein, sugar, blood, casts, crystals, etc.
- Glomerular disorders that affect the tiny filtering systems of the kidneys called the glomerulus
- Tubulointerstitial diseases affecting the tubules and surrounding tissue (interstitium) in the kidneys.
- Renal vascular diseases affecting the blood vessel networks within the kidneys.
- Renal injury (failure) that can be sudden or acute or chronic( long term)
- Kidney and bladder stones
- Kidney and urinary tract infections
- Effects of diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure on kidneys.
- Acid-base imbalances and electrolytes( metabolic) disorders
- Nephrotic syndrome and nephritis.
- Secondary effects of drugs and toxins on the kidneys
- Autoimmune diseases including autoimmune vasculitis, lupus, etc.
- Polycystic kidneys diseases where large cysts or fluid filled sacs are formed within the kidney impairing its functions – this is a congenital inherited condition
- All Dialysis technics including: hemodialysis/hemodiafiltration as well as peritoneal dialysis.
- Preparation for Dialysis and management of vascular access for dialysis and short /long term complications.
- Prevention of malnutrition and muscular hypotrophy in dialyzed patients.
- Preparing patients in end stage renal disease for kidney transplant and following them after the transplantation surgery.