Susan Massengill, MD
Levine Children’s Hospital, which operates one of the largest dialysis units in the country, is on track to complete a record breaking number of kidney transplants in 2014. By the end of August of 2014, the pediatric nephrology department had performed 14 transplants. Wake Forest, East Carolina and Duke each undertook four transplants last year.
Susan Massengill, MD, director of pediatric nephrology at Carolinas HealthCare System’s Levine Children’s Hospital, says the dialysis unit performed more than 6,000 dialysis treatments. It is the only dedicated pediatric unit in North and South Carolina.
“We are fortunate that dialysis serves as a bridge to kidney transplant while we wait for the opportune time for transplant,” Dr. Massengill said.
Barriers to transplant include age, size, and activity of the disease that may have caused the kidney failure and availability of appropriate donors. However, with advances in technology, infants can now live on dialysis until they are big enough to undergo a kidney transplant usually when they reach 18 to 24 months of age.
“Our center is continuously participating in many national studies and dialysis trials to help improve the long-term outcomes for children and adolescents either on dialysis or with kidney transplants,” Dr. Massengill said. “We strive to give our patients the best quality of life possible in the face of chronic disease. Our goal is to be the place that parents want to have their child to have a kidney transplant performed because they know they have the best chances of success with us.”
Easy screening tools for kidney disease include blood pressure measurements, urine checks and review of family history.