Aims: To determine the outcome of children who reach end stage renal failure before the age of 2 years.
Methods: Using a retrospective questionnaire, 10 years' data were collected from the paediatric nephrology units in Britain and Ireland (1988 to 1997, follow up 1.3–11.5 years).
Results: A total of 192 children were identified; 0.31/million/year. Most had congenital or inherited conditions, and there were more boys. Latterly, half were diagnosed antenatally. Ninety per cent were dialysed initially, most using home peritoneal cyclers, some by haemodialysis through central lines. Five per cent recovered sufficient function to come off dialysis. Most required tube feeding (often gastrostomy) and erythropoietin; some needed growth hormone. A total of 56% received a transplant (2% without prior dialysis) at (medians) 2.6 years and 12.3 kg. The 2 and 10 year survival of first kidneys was 78%. Growth improved following transplantation. Fourteen per cent died because treatment was not started or was withdrawn. Most had particularly complex renal conditions, or additional major non-renal diagnoses. Typically, decisions not to treat were made mutually between clinicians and families. When treatment was continued, 71% survived, and few had serious non-renal conditions. Most attended normal schools, and by 6 years of age, less than 10% still required dialysis. Infants starting treatment under and over 1 month of age fared equally well.
Conclusions: By school age, most infants treated for end stage renal failure will have a functioning transplant, reasonable growth, and will attend a normal class, regardless of the age at which they commence treatment. Treatment is seldom sustained in children who have serious additional medical conditions. It is reasonable to treat infants with uncomplicated renal failure.
- renal failure
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