Nephrology and Hypertension

Advancing Clinical Care of Kidney and Related Disorders Through Research

Waiting for a Kidney

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Nephrology and Hypertension

US News Badge NephrologyThe Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at Nationwide Children’s provides comprehensive treatment to children and adolescents with kidney and urinary tract problems. Among the conditions addressed are kidney failure, developmental abnormalities of the kidneys, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, nephrotic syndrome, high blood pressure, metabolic bone disease, lupus and inflammatory diseases of the kidneys such as glomerulonephritis.

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Our Mission Statement

As the leader in pediatric care, the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at Nationwide Children’s provides comprehensive acute and chronic nephrology services, urinary tract evaluation, dialysis, kidney transplantation, hypertension diagnostics and management, as well as treatment of metabolic bone disease. Pediatric patients with all forms of kidney and urinary tract diseases will have access to world-class diagnostic, treatment, education and research services. The Division of Nephrology and Hypertension is staffed by pediatric experts who provide patients and their families unparalleled and innovative care.

Meet Our Leadership

John David Spencer, MD

John David Spencer

John David Spencer, MD, is chief of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Principal Investigator in the Center for Clinical and Translational Research in the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. His clinical and research interests relate to renal tubular and urinary tract disorders. Specifically, his NIH-funded research program investigates innate host defenses in the kidney and bladder.

Hiren Patel

Hiren P. Patel

Hiren Patel, MD, is section chief of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension and medical director of the Kidney Transplant Program at Nationwide Children's Hospital. His clinical interests include glomerular and tubular disorders, acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease. His research interests include improving clinical outcomes in chronic kidney disease, particularly in the dialysis and renal transplant populations.

Nephrology Services Include:

  • Treatment for kidney-related conditions
  • Pediatric renal transplantation
  • Pediatric renal dietician, clinical nutrition support
  • Dedicated renal social worker and psychologist
  • Homecare Services
  • Renal Basic Science Research Laboratory
  • Clinical research

Our Programs Include:

Patient receiving dialysis treatment


Nationwide Children's has a pediatric-specific dialysis unit on-site to provide acute and chronic dialysis therapy for children with severe kidney failure.

Young girl in hospital bed

Kidney Transplant Program

Our program serves children and adolescents in need of a kidney transplant due to birth anomalies, disease processes and acute/chronic kidney injury.

Metabolic Bone Clinic patient

Metabolic Bone Clinic

The Metabolic Bone Clinic provides comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis and management of various skeletal disorders, including Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) and other congenital bone disorders, as well as acquired conditions that led to osteopenia and impair bone such as that seen with glucocorticoid use, immobilization and chronic renal, liver and other conditions.

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Urology and Nephrology Combined Clinic

For patients who need care from experts in both urology and nephrology, our combined clinic offers many advantages. Our combined clinic serves patients with many types of conditions related to the urinary system and kidneys.

Nationwide Children's Hospital Patient Photo

Kidney Stone Clinic

Every child with a suspected or confirmed kidney stone should have a comprehensive evaluation to cause and treatment by nephrology experts. Our team is here to help in diagnosis, medical treatment and long-term care.

Nationwide Children's Hospital Patient Photo

Lupus Clinic

Lupus is a chronic and heterogeneous autoimmune disorder that can affect any organ in the body. Uncontrolled lupus can cause severe complications including kidney damage from lupus nephritis and psychosis, seizures, stroke and cognitive problems from central nervous system involvement. Our nephrologists work closely with the rheumatologists in the Lupus Clinic to ensure that patients with lupus receive the critical kidney care they need.

Conditions We Treat

Nationwide Children's Hospital Patient Stock Photo

Chronic Renal Failure

Kidney disease (renal failure) is short-term or permanent damage to the kidneys that results in loss of normal kidney function.

Nationwide Children's Hospital Patient Stock Photo

Kidney Transplantation in Children

Detailed information on kidney transplants, including why a kidney transplant is recommended, what is involved in kidney transplant surgery, and the long-term outlook for a child after a kidney transplant.

Father Reading to Young Boy in Hospital Room

Nephrotic Syndrome in Children

Nephrotic syndrome is characterized by symptoms that result from changes that occur to the small, functional filters in the kidneys.

Brothers Sitting Outside Smiling


Glomerulonephritis is a kidney disease that involves inflammation of tiny filter units in the kidneys called glomeruli. Due to inflammation, these filters can leak blood and protein into the urine. Symptoms may include dark brown-colored urine (from blood and protein) and diminished urine output.

Meet Our Patients


Alex's Story

Read Alex's Story

Name: Alex G.
Condition(s): Nephrotic Syndrome
Age Today: 12 Years

For two years of Alex's life, everything seemed fine. The his mother noticed that he wasn’t feeling well, battling persistent stomach problems and puffy eyes. At first she thought they were dealing with allergies, but as Alex worsened, tests revealed he had a rare kidney disorder called nephrotic syndrome.

Brielle's story

Read Brielle's Story

Name: Brielle
Condition(s): Kidney Transplant, Wilms Tumor

When Brielle was 11 months old, she was diagnosed with Wilms' tumor in both kidneys. The kidneys were removed four months later, and she began dialysis four times a week. After being cancer-free for two years, Brielle became a candidate for kidney transplant.

Kaylor's Story

Read Kaylor's Story

Name: Kaylor B.
Condition(s): Nephrotic Syndrome
Age Today: 10 Years

About a month before Kaylor's 5th birthday, he developed an upper respiratory infection. During a visit to the doctor, I noticed when they took his weight it had spiked up 10 pounds, but I couldn't remember the last time I weighed him.

Nephrology Research 

In addition to providing outstanding clinical care, members of the Section of Nephrology are leading research studies to improve patient outcomes for children everywhere. The Nephrology program is supported by five research coordinators who manage over 40 ongoing clinical and translational research studies. The basic and translational research program is located in Clinical and Translational Research Center of the Abigail Wexner Research Institute. The Nephrology Research program is supported by institutional, industry and private funds, as well as receiving funding from national societies as well as the National Institutes of Health.

M. Brian Becknell, MD, PhD

Research and Innovation

As leaders in research and innovation, members of the Section of Nephrology and Hypertension are continuously sharing their findings to improve patient outcomes. Research efforts are focused on kidney glomerular diseases, urinary tract development, immunology and immunity, mechanisms of kidney injury, as well as urological disorders.

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Nephrology Team Grants

The Section of Nephrology is dedicated to advancing clinical care of kidney and related disorders through research. See a list of current research grants awarded to our team.

The Nephrology and Urology Research Affinity Group

Members of the Section of Nephrology and Hypertension also participate in the Nephrology and Urology Research Affinity Group (NURAG). NURAG is composed of medical faculty, residents and fellows from the Nephrology and Urology programs at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. NURAG also includes members of the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s whose research projects focus on the fields of nephrology, urology and associated disciplines.


The Pediatric Nephrolgy Research Consortium (formerly the Midwest Pediatric Nephrology Consortium - MWPNC)

The Pediatric Nephrology Research Consortium (PNRC) started in 2004 as the Midwest Pediatric Nephrology Consortium  with a mission to develop and execute multi-center clinical and translational studies related to pediatric kidney diseases. As the Consortium has expanded to include participants from 90 pediatric nephrology centers across North America, it has truly outgrown its ‘mid-western’ roots.  With over 200 members, it continues to be an active continent-wide platform for collaborative research by investigators dedicated to developing the evidence for the best standards of care for children with kidney disorders. The PNRC has published now published over 50 peer-reviewed manuscripts and conducted 12 nationally funded research projects. Through these efforts, the PNRC is re-making the way that pediatric nephrologists improve patient care through collaborative clinical research. John D. Mahan, MD, and William E. Smoyer, MD, are two of its founders and Dr. Mahan serves currently as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the PNRC.

Inside the Section of Nephrology and Hypertension

Conditions We Treat

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