Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide
Nephrology Department

Nephrology Department (Renal Unit)

The Nephrology Department incorporates the WCH Dialysis Unit and provides inpatient and outpatient services for children and young people living in South Australia and the nearer parts of the Northern Territory who suffer from kidney disease, high blood pressure and kidney failure.

The Dialysis Unit provides dialysis treatment for acute and chronic renal failure, as well as paediatric apharesis. The end-stage renal failure treatment program includes:

  • chronic peritoneal dialysis
  • chronic haemodialysis
  • renal transplantation (part of the SA Renal Transplant Service).

The Department has special expertise in the investigation and management of

  • nephrotic syndrome
  • haemolytic-uraemic syndrome
  • hypertension (providing a 24 hour Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring Service).

The Unit works with a number of other hospital units including:

  • the WCH page link iconUrology Service - providing comprehensive management of infants and children with complex nephro-urological disorders
  • the WCH page link iconIntensive Care Units to manage acute renal failure and electrolyte problems
  • the Obstetric Medical Service to assist with kidney dysfunction during pregnancy.

How to access the service

Written referrals are required. The referral may be from your general practitioner, general paediatrician or other specialist.

Renal Unit direct fax number: (08) 8161 6048

Appointments can be made by phoning the departmental secretary on (08) 8161 7303 or (08) 8161 7172.

Information for families

Does your child need referral to a kidney specialist?

If your child has complaints relating to the passing of urine or develops swollen hands, face or feet this may be due to kidney disease. You should see your local doctor who may refer you to our department. However, symptoms of kidney disease are not always obvious and often require your doctor to do simple screening tests such as a urine test or measure blood pressure.

What do you need to bring to an appointment?

You will need to bring the written referral from your doctor along with X-rays, Ultrasound pictures or any blood or urine test results your child may have had performed.

What kinds of tests/examinations do we do?

Nearly all patients referred to a kidney specialist will require a urine test and often, a blood test. Numbing creams to assist with the brief discomfort of needle prick of the blood test are available if necessary. Phone the department before the appointment to discuss this.

In addition, a kidney ultrasound examination (if not already done) and sometimes other scans may be required and are usually arranged after the first appointment.

A small number of children may require a kidney biopsy which is usually performed under a general anaesthetic by one of the kidney specialists.

 What support groups are available?

The WCH WCH page link iconSocial Work Service provides assistance for some families, particularly those with chronic or severe kidney disease. Link iconKidney Health Australia (KHA) provides important community information and support for adults and children with kidney disease. The Kidney Helpline is 1800 454 363.

Research Activity

The department has an active research program led by the departmental renal scientist. The work is facilitated by the department's laboratory which has research and clinical functions.

Projects include:

  • Investigation of immunological markers of inflammation in chronic kidney disease
  • Lipid abnormalities in chronic kidney disease
  • Screening for renal disease and the provision of medical services in remote indigenous communities
  • Childhood hypertension.


Department Office hours: Monday to Friday 8.30am - 4.30pm

Contact details

Medical Unit Head
Dr Sam Crafter FRACP

Clinical Services Coordinator
Kathryn Boundy RN


4th Floor, Good Friday Building

Mailing address

Department of Nephrology
Women's and Children's Hospital
72 King William Road
North Adelaide
South Australia 5006


Phone: (08) 8161 7303

WCH page link iconBack to Division of Paediatric Medicine

last modified: 05 Dec 2018