Kidney care in Virginia

Nephrology, also called kidney care, deals with the function and proper care of the kidneys — the two bean-shaped organs located in your lower back. Kidneys play an essential role in removing bodily wastes, balancing chemicals, controlling blood pressure and keeping bones healthy.

HCA Virginia's kidney specialists provide comprehensive care for the prevention and treatment of chronic kidney disease and help restore your quality of life.

For more information about kidney care at HCA Virginia or for help finding a nephrologist, call our free, 24/7 Consult-A-Nurse® line.

What doctor treats kidney diseases?

A nephrologist is a doctor who diagnoses and treats kidney diseases and disorders. Nephrology and urologic care often overlap because both medical specialties involve the kidneys. However, a urologist treats conditions of the urinary tract (which includes the kidneys) and a nephrologist focuses solely on the kidneys.

Types of kidney disease we treat

Some of the conditions our kidney specialists diagnose and treat include:

  • Acute and chronic renal failure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • End-stage renal disease
  • Kidney cancer
  • Kidney failure
  • Kidney stones
  • Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)
  • Progressive loss of kidney function (Alport syndrome)
  • Renal artery stenosis
  • Renal tubular acidosis

Understanding kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a blanket term applying to several conditions affecting the kidneys. However, it generally pertains to the gradual loss of kidney function over time because your kidneys are damaged and can no longer filter blood as they should.

CKD can cause waste to build up in your body and lead to other serious health concerns. CKD may be caused by diabetes and high blood pressure. Some infections, inherited diseases and injuries can also lead to kidney disease.

We offer advanced care for patients with chronic kidney disease, including:

Treatment for kidney disease

Your initial treatment plan may include medication to lower blood pressure, control blood glucose and lower blood cholesterol. When surgery is needed, our nephrologists are equipped to perform many procedures with a minimally invasive approaches, including:

  • Cryosurgery: An alternative to surgically removing a tumor, cryosurgery involves injecting argon gas through ultra-thin probes to freeze the tumor, killing cancerous cells while sparing healthy kidney structures.
  • Endourology procedure: This procedure is performed to extract kidney stones via natural entry points to the kidney.
  • Nephrectomy: This procedure involves the surgical removal of all (radical nephrectomy) or part (kidney-sparing nephrectomy) of the kidney.

If kidney disease leads to kidney failure, the only treatment options are dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Kidney transplant

If your condition requires a kidney transplant, the Virginia Transplant Center at HCA Virginia's Henrico Doctors' Hospital offers a kidney transplant program. There, surgeons and clinicians specialize in kidney transplant surgery, living kidney donations and paired kidney exchanges.

From the moment you are referred to the program to your post-transplant follow-up appointments, Virginia Transplant Center's team is with you.

Maintaining your kidney health

Early detection and lifestyle changes can prevent kidney disease and kidney failure. To help keep your kidneys healthy:

  • Choose low-sodium foods
  • Keep your blood pressure below 130/80
  • Keep your blood sucrose in the target range, if you have diabetes