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Kidney Disease

Nephrology concerns itself with the diagnosis of kidney disease and its treatment, including kidney dialysis. Detroit Medical Center Nephrologists also follow up on kidney transplant patients. Additionally, most nephrologists are experts in the care of patients with electrolyte disorders and hypertension.

Patients are referred to DMC nephrology specialists for various reasons, such as:
  • Acute and chronic kidney failure
  • Hematuria, the loss of blood in the urine
  • Proteinuria, the loss of protein in the urine
  • Kidney stones
  • Cancer of the kidney
  • Chronic or recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Hypertension that has failed to respond to multiple forms of anti-hypertensive medication or could have a secondary cause
  • Electrolyte disorders or acid/base imbalance

DMC Detroit Receiving, DMC Harper University Hospital, DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital and DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital were all ranked among the best in Southeast Michigan for Kidney and Kidney Disorder care by U.S.News & World Report.

DMC Harper University Hospital’s Dialysis Access Center is a comprehensive team of multidisciplinary experts that include:  nephrologists, surgeons, vascular surgeons, interventionalists and nurses – all whom are dedicated to providing complete dialysis access care.

This unique integration of specialists produces innovative approaches to the education and management of dialysis access which ultimately leads to better outcomes for our patients.

What makes this Center unique?
Unlike stand alone Dialysis Access Centers, our Center is housed at DMC Harper University Hospital, a national comprehensive center of excellence facility.  As a center of excellence, Harper offers a complete range of clinical services that support all your clinical needs.  Meaning, in addition to managing your dialysis access, Harper also has:
  • Complete cardiovascular care
  • Inpatient and outpatient diabetes
  • Hypertension program
  • Kidney transplant program
Our service begins with jut one call to the dedicated number:  1-866-966-VASC (8272) that will be answered promptly by our trained staff.

Kidney Transplant
The Organ Transplant Center at Harper University Hospital is known for performing successful kidney transplants in the highest-risk patients. At Harper, an expert team of transplant specialists use sophisticated, life-saving techniques that often lead to improved patient outcomes.
Consider the facts:
According to US Transplant Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, the Harper Transplant Program is a kidney transplant program in Southeast Michigan currently achieving one-year patient and graft survival rates equal to or exceeding those expected based on risk profile.

The Transplant Program at Harper has performed ten renal transplants in HIV+ recipients with excellent outcomes. The program became the first to report a low incidence of acute rejection in these patients.

Harper was the first to report equivalent outcomes with primary and retransplantation in African-American deceased-donor renal allograft recipients receiving contemporary immunosuppression.

The Harper Transplant Program offers both living- and deceased-donor kidney transplantation. The transplant team recognizes the complex needs of transplant donors and recipients — both before and after surgery — and is recognized for its medical expertise and caring manner. Additionally, the Organ Transplant Center is a central resource for all transplant-related issues.

Are You at Risk for Kidney Disease?

The kidneys remove waste products from the blood and keep the correct balance of fluid and salt in the body. Waste and extra fluid are flushed from the body as urine. When the kidneys are damaged, the waste builds up in the blood and can cause symptoms.

One in nine adults in the United States has chronic kidney disease. Another 20 million are at increased risk. Even small losses of kidney function can double a person’s risk of developing heart disease.

Chronic kidney disease usually does not happen suddenly. Small changes occur to the kidneys over several years as the disease progresses from earliest stages to a point when the kidneys fail and dialysis is needed.

Who is at Increased Risk?

The two major causes of kidney disease are:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)

Approximately 80 percent of patients with chronic kidney disease have one or both of these conditions. Other risk factors include:

  • Family history of chronic kidney disease
  • Senior citizens
  • Certain racial groups, especially African-Americans, Pacific Islanders, Hispanic-Americans and American Indians. African-Americans comprise one-third of all patients treated for kidney failure in the United States.

Symptoms of Kidney Failure

You may have chronic kidney disease if you are experiencing:

  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Blood in urine
  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Difficult or painful urination
  • Puffiness around the eyes
  • Swelling of hands and feet

Advanced signs of the disease include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite and change in taste
  • Hiccups
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Shortness of breath, frequent cough
  • Swelling
  • Muscle cramps
  • Itching


Three simple tests identify chronic kidney disease:

  1. Blood pressure testing
  2. A test to determine the amount of protein in the urine
  3. A blood test to measure how efficiently the kidneys filter waste

Slowing the Progression

If you are diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, learning about the disease can help you keep your kidneys healthy. You may want to ask your doctor the following questions:

  • What percent of kidney function do I have now?
  • What is the cause of my kidney problem?
  • What can I do to keep my kidneys working as long as possible?
  • What treatment is available for my symptoms?
  • What are the next steps for my treatment?

To keep your disease in check, you should:

  • Keep blood pressure within a healthy range
  • Control blood sugar levels if you have diabetes
  • Limit protein in your diet
  • Consult your doctor about an exercise program
  • If you smoke, quit
  • Visit your doctor for regular checkups

It is important to identify and treat kidney problems early to help prevent the progression of kidney disease to kidney failure.

If you have one of the early or advanced signs, visit a doctor for some simple tests to determine if you have kidney disease.


DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital treats patients with chronic kidney disease in a 12-bed acute hemodialysis unit. Care is provided by 16 board certified nephrologists and dozens of registered nurses with specialized training. Additionally, vascular, cardiovascular, radiology and urology specialists are available for consultation. Each patient receives personal education on medication use and diet.

For an appointment, a second opinion or more information, please call 1-888-DMC-2500.
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