Pediatric Kidney Care & Dialysis
Nephrology at Children’s Health Kidney Center

Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT)

Get support for your child when their kidneys aren’t working properly with continuous renal replacement therapy at University Children’s Health.

What is CRRT?

Continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) treats critically ill children with kidney failure or fluid overload who are too sick for conventional dialysis. It’s a form of dialysis, but CRRT is a slower process that helps your child’s body better tolerate it.

A specialized machine takes your child’s blood through an intravenous (IV) catheter to an artificial kidney (hemofilter). The artificial kidney removes excess fluid and waste products then returns the “clean” blood to your child’s body.

Why Do Some Children Need CRRT?

Several diseases can cause acute kidney failure. In some cases, your child’s kidneys may not remove the normal waste products in the blood. Or they may not remove fluid, which can lead to severe swelling of the body and organs. Some conditions that may benefit from CRRT are:

  • Acute tubular necrosis – Damage to tube-shaped ducts in the kidneys that help filter blood
  • Hemolytic uremic syndrome 
  • Liver failure – Loss of liver function and elevated ammonia level
  • Rhabdomyolysis – Kidney damage that can happen from muscle breakdown due to severe dehydration, infection, or other causes
  • Sepsis
  • Severe acidosis – Too much acid in body fluids
  • Tumor lysis syndrome – Quick release of a lot of dead cancer cells into the blood after cancer therapy causing the kidney to fail

CRRT Care Team

If your child needs CRRT, they will receive care in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at University Hospital. A specially trained care team works together to provide your child with the best possible care. It includes:

  • Pediatric intensivist – Cares for very sick babies and children; primary doctor while your child is in the intensive care unit
  • Pediatric nephrologist – Cares for patients with kidney diseases; consults with the pediatric intensivists to customize your child’s treatment
  • Pediatric critical care nurse – Runs the CRRT machine and makes adjustments based on the doctor's goals; provides bedside nursing care for your child 24 hours a day
  • Advanced technology specialist (ATS) – Sets up and maintains the CRRT machine during treatment

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