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It’s a scary time for the whole family when a child has been diagnosed with kidney failure. Dialysis can help a child survive an acute episode of kidney failure or stay healthy until a donated kidney becomes available. At UI Children’s Hospital, children are treated at the Pediatric Dialysis Center, the only facility of its kind in Iowa. Our staff is dedicated to helping your child get the care he or she needs in order to lead the most normal life possible.

The kidneys remove waste products and extra water from the blood. If the kidneys do not work properly, your child will need some help to do this work. At UI Children’s Hospital our patients are treated through hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis (both center and home-based therapies). Each type of dialysis will affect your family's lifestyle. Your doctor and nurses will help you choose the one that is best for your child. Each situation is different.


With hemodialysis, your child's blood passes through a filter to remove waste products, extra salt, and extra water. Hemodialysis helps control blood pressure and keeps the proper balance of potassium, sodium, calcium, and bicarbonate in the body. Hemodialysis is done at the Pediatric Dialysis Center, typically three times a week. Patients are connected to a machine that removes waste products and extra water from their blood, doing the work of a healthy kidney. Each dialysis session lasts up to four hours.

Peritoneal Dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis uses the lining of your child's abdomen, called the peritoneal membrane, to filter blood. Fluid is put in the patient’s abdomen through a small, flexible tube called a peritoneal dialysis catheter and flushed out either every night while the patient sleeps (automatic peritoneal dialysis) or by regular exchanges throughout the day (continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis). This type of dialysis can be performed at home each day with the help of family members.

Child and Family-Centered Care

Dialysis is a life-saving treatment, but chronic kidney failure can bring on emotional, social, medical and financial issues and stresses for children and their families. Our staff is committed to lessening the burden of dialysis on patients and their families through supportive child and family-centered care.

The child-friendly Pediatric Dialysis Center was made possible with the support of Walmart and Sam’s Club, whose associates raised and donated $400,000 for the project through Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Patient Stories

Kirby Thumbnail

Brother and Sister Kidney Transplant

Siblings Alex and Molly both suffered from the same genetic disorder but both received kidney transplants to fix the problems. Read more about Alex and Molly’s story.

Grant Thumbnail

14 Surgeries in 31 Days, Grant is Still Here

After toiling through so many surgeries in such a short time, Grant is able to enjoy the farm life. Read more about Grant’s story.

Brandi Thumbnail

Nosebleeds Tip a Family Off

Brandi went through two kidney transplants and lots of dialysis, but now lives a happy family life. Read more about Brandi’s story.

Shawn Thumbnail

Shawn Stomps Kidney Trouble

Shawn survived bacterial meningitis as a baby only to need a kidney transplant, but now can live as a normal kid. Read more about Shawn’s story.

Korri Thumbnail

Wegener’s Disease Doesn’t Conquer Korri

Korri went into the hospital for what she thought was routine, but it ended up being a life-saving visit.Read more about Korri’s story.

Health Information

Anatomy of Kidney



Locations and Contact

Iowa City, Iowa

Pediatric Dialysis Center
C 300-17 General Hospital
Iowa City, Iowa 52242

In House Directions: Elevator A or B, Level 3.

In House Directions: Elevator A or B, Level 3.


Monday - Friday
8 am - 5 pm


  • Phone: 319-356-7333

Care Team

Other Team Members

Pediatric Dialysis Clinic Team

Jennifer Ehrlich, RN, Nurse Manager
Amy Beckman, RN, Assistant Nurse Manager
Carolyn Lewis, Clerk
Mary Lee Neuberger, APN
Katie Roben, RN
Annette Thomas, RN
Melissa Thopmson, RN
Sara Wiggins, RN