Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a new concept of disease that was established post-2000. Irrespective of the cause of the disease, CKD refers to the abnormal state of the shape of the kidney, which is detected through abnormal urine test results (especially albuminuria) and decreased renal function or detected through ultrasound scans and other tests. CKD involves a high risk of progression into end-stage kidney disease that necessitates dialysis or organ transplant. What is more, adverse effects occur on other organs throughout the body including the cardiovascular and skeletal systems. Globally, a huge number of patients suffer from CKD. The disease has become a major healthcare issue.
CKD in children shows a slightly different picture. Compared to the adult disease domain, not much research has been conducted, leaving us with numerous aspects that require future investigation. In many cases the causes for adult CKD are diseases such as diabetes, chronic nephritis and hypertension. In children, a very common cause is congenital anomalies of the kidney and the urinary tract, in which children are born with abnormality in the kidney or urinal tract, which lead to the gradual loss of kidney function. (We refer to this as pediatric CKD and we wish to emphasize the fact that it has a pathophysiology that is distinct from adult CKD.)
As more research has been conducted, we have discovered that pediatric CKD bears a high risk of progression into end-stage kidney disease as with adults (requiring dialysis and kidney transplant) and develops various complications. Meanwhile, there are major problems specific to children such as developmental disorders (short stature). Therefore, it is essential to obtain accurate diagnosis at an early stage and administer treatment that is most effective against pediatric CKD in an effort to minimize the number of children succumbing to end-stage kidney disease. This is the aim of our research into pediatric CKD. We have been identifying the causes and frequency of pediatric CKD in Japan. We will continue in our research effort so as to improve care for pediatric CKD patients by establishing early diagnosis and treatment that prevents progression into end-stage kidney disease.