The role of the pediatric nephrologist in the care of children with diabetes mellitus

Pediatr Nephrol. 1991 May;5(3):359-63. doi: 10.1007/BF00867504.


The pediatric nephrologist has traditionally not been involved in the care of the diabetic child since diabetic nephropathy presents in adulthood. Recent studies suggest that diabetic kidney disease develops silently during childhood. Measurement of urinary albumin excretion (UAE) allows earlier detection of patients at risk of nephropathy, often in adolescence. In addition to diabetic nephropathy, diabetic children are at risk of urinary tract infections, renal papillary necrosis, and various forms of glomerulonephritis. The role of the pediatric nephrologist in the care of the child with diabetes might include advising on the administration and interpretation of screening for UAE and the measurement and interpretation of glomerular filtration rate, and blood pressure. Children with evidence of renal dysfunction should be evaluated and treated by the pediatric nephrologist. Frequently, renal biopsy will be necessary in these patients. Future research may allow the detection of diabetic kidney disease earlier in childhood, further expanding the role of the pediatric nephrologist. In particular, early renal biopsy may eventually be used to select those patients at risk of diabetic nephropathy for specific treatment alterations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Albuminuria / metabolism
  • Biopsy
  • Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / diagnosis*
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Nephrology
  • Pediatrics
  • Physician's Role