In the months leading up to her birth, Arieana Breckenridge’s parents had no idea there was anything wrong. But the first thing doctors did when Arieana was born was rush her off for emergency surgery…
According to pediatric urologist Dr. Yegappan Lakshmanan, Arieana had what’s called a cloacal anomaly, which means the bladder, bowel and genital tracks led into one common channel. Because of this, waste products couldn’t leave her body the way they needed to. By the time she was five she had at least five surgeries.
But Arieana – being a resilient and happy kid – bounced back and seemed to be doing great. Until one day when things took a turn for the worse…
"She actually had a fever for like a day and a half and, at that point, I took her into the hospital, said her father. "I just didn’t know what the fever was about and that’s when they did all the tests and they hit me with this brick wall that she, you know, had no kidney function and that she was going to have to go on dialysis."
Dr. Tej Mattoo, Chief of Pediatric Nephrology and Hypertension, is an expert in kidney disease in children. "The kidney diagnosis is what we call renal dysplasia hypoplasia. That means the kidneys did not develop normally. We don’t know exactly why that happens but it’s one of the commonest causes of kidney failure in children. And many such children need the care right away from birth and then, depending on how much functioning kidney tissue they have, may go on their own kidneys for a decade or longer, and other times they need to go on dialysis soon after birth. In Arieana’s case, her kidney’s lasted about five years or so."
Arieana went for dialysis three times a week for 3 to 4 hours per treatment, with the intention that the patient would be transplanted and the shorter they stay on dialysis.
Arieana was on dialysis for two years. Once doctors fixed some complications with her bladder that were a result of her birth defects, she was put on a transplant list. And then one day, the phone rang. There was a kidney waiting for Arieana.
She was transplanted in early 2010 and she has been doing exceptionally well. Her transplant kidney function is great.
"Sometimes they do have complications but the whole purpose of getting a kidney transplant is to give them a new lease of life. And, yes, they have to continue taking medications, they still need follow up but the expectation is that their life would be as close to normal as possible. And I tell them it should not affect their education, their social life, getting married when they are older, having kids, and beyond."
"I felt a sense of comfort that it was at Children's Hospital as opposed to any other hospital," Says her father. "I think they’re very caring. The guidance and the knowledge and the education that we’ve got going through everything, is one in a million.