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Clinical Nephrology

Nephrology (aka. clinical nephrology) is the medical science of the kidneys that deals with its functions, conditions and treatments. The kidneys have multiple functions; they cleanse our body from waste products, toxins and excess water, regulate the body’s acid-base and electrolyte balance and excrete certain hormones. When patients are suspected to have kidney abnormalities they are referred to a nephrologist, who often works in conjunction with urologists (trained in the surgical solutions of kidney, bladder and urethra diseases). A special sub-field of nephrology is pediatric nephrology that focuses on kidney diseases of underage patients.

What Kidney Related Conditions Does Nephrology Study?

  • Autoimmune diseases (lupus, vasculitis)
  • Diabetes
  • Renal osteodystrophy
  • Hypertension
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Renal replacement therapy (dialysis and kidney transplantation)
  • Polycystic kidney
  • Acute renal failure
  • Hematuria, Proteinuria
  • Kidney stones
  • Glomerular diseases (the kidney’s filtering system)
  • Renal vascular diseases
  • Cancer
  • Childhood kidney diseases are treated by pediatric nephrology

Diagnostic Methods of Nephrology

  • Analysing physical symptoms such as edema and high blood pressure.
  • Urine tests (to identify excess protein or infections)
  • Bood test (to measure electrolyte levels)
  • To examine the filters of the kidneys Glomerural Filtration Rate is measured.
  • The pathology of the kidneys can be studied by taking biopsy (a tissue sample) from the kidneys.
  • Kidney imaging helps to detect and locate kidney stones, cysts, polyps and cancer. The most frequent imaging methods include Ultrasound, CT, MRI, Renal Arteriography.

Treatment Options of Clinical Nephrology

1.       Medication

  • Diuretics, blood pressure medicines for kidney dysfunctions that cause high blood pressure.
  • Immunorepressants are used to treat kidney autoimmune diseases.
  • In case of chronic kidney diseases hormonal replacement and electrolyte supplements are prescribed.

2.       Surgical Interventions

Surgery is mostly used to remove abnormal growths, cysts and tumors, from the kidney.

3.       Renal Replacement Therapies

In advanced stages of renal failure two means are used to replace certain renal functions or the organ itself:

  • Dialisys is a kind of artificial kidney that assists the filtering of the blood.
  • Kidney transplant is recommended in the final stages of kidney failure when functions get hard to maintain artificially.

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