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Our team of board-certified nephrologists are experts at managing kidney conditions, and work closely with your primary care doctor, endocrinologists, urologists and other specialists to provide you the best possible care.

Knowing matters, especially when it comes to kidney care. With the latest in research, technology and education programs, we can help you find the best options for you.

From the first appointment, we’re here with a personalized treatment plan and convenient, close-to-home options for managing your kidney health.

Our kidneys are at work 24 hours a day filtering our blood. Healthy kidneys filter a half cup of blood every minute, but disease and damage can slow them down and impair their function. When your kidneys are not functioning normally, it can have far-reaching effects on your health. Because many kidney conditions are linked to chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, it’s important to have a coordinated team behind you. At HealthPartners and Park Nicollet, our expert nephrologists focus on addressing all aspects of kidney health by working closely together with other experts within our organization, including medication management pharmacists, cardiologists and endocrinologists. Together, we will help you understand, manage and improve your kidney condition through comprehensive care, close to home.

Kidney disorders and conditions we treat

Nephrologists are experts in treating complex and chronic conditions that affect the kidneys. Often, these kidney conditions can affect other parts of your body, like your heart and vascular system. We provide expert care for managing multiple conditions related to kidney function, answer your questions about treatment options and help with care coordination. Some of the conditions we treat are:

Acute kidney failure

This condition makes it difficult for kidneys to filter blood. It’s caused by injuries or illnesses that reduce blood flow to the kidney, like congestive heart failure or severe dehydration. Direct injury to the kidneys or a blockage in the slim tubes that pass urine from the kidneys to your bladder (called ureters) can also cause acute kidney failure. Our nephrologists work closely with urologists, doctors who specialize in conditions that affect your urinary drainage system, to make sure you’re getting the expert care you need no matter what’s causing your kidney condition.

In order to give your kidneys time to heal, we may prescribe medicines to balance the amount of fluid in your body and minerals in your blood. Sometimes short-term or long-term dialysis is needed. With early treatment, it’s possible to manage your kidney disease so you can maintain your quality of life.

Chronic kidney disease

This occurs when a condition causes the kidneys to lose function over time and is frequently caused by diabetes, high blood pressure or polycystic kidney disease. Our nephrologists work closely with cardiologists, endocrinologists, dietitians and your primary care doctor to help you manage your condition.

Living with chronic kidney disease can feel like a challenge, but we’re here to make getting the care you need as easy as possible. We can help you with everything from working with your insurance company, understanding your prescriptions and connecting you with our support services.

End-stage kidney disease

End-stage kidney disease, also called end-stage renal disease, is an advanced stage of chronic kidney disease when your kidneys are no longer able to support normal body function. While end-stage kidney disease can’t be cured, it’s possible to manage symptoms and improve quality of life with dialysis, a kidney transplant or other treatments. We’ll work closely with you to help you understand all the treatment options, help you prepare for your treatments and answer any questions you have.

Other conditions we treat
  • Electrolyte abnormalities 
  • Glomerulonephritis 
  • Hypertension management
  • Interstitial nephritis
  • Kidney stone prevention 
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Polycystic kidney disease
Diagnosis

We work closely with primary care doctors to watch for indicators that someone is at risk of developing chronic kidney disease. Our team uses an advanced research tool to identify patients at risk so we can guide them toward the care they need when it matters most. And, when caught early, we can manage your risks or conditions effectively to maintain and improve your overall quality of life.

If you’re showing symptoms of a kidney condition, we might use one of the following tests to determine the cause:

Urinalysis

This is a comprehensive test of your urine to determine its acidity (pH level) and protein levels, as well as to look for blood in your urine. This test may sometimes be used to help us understand whether you are at risk of developing kidney stones or if you are in the beginning stages of kidney disease.

Albumin test (blood and urine)

Albumin tests check the level of albumin in your blood or urine. Albumin is a type of protein found in your blood. When healthy kidneys filter waste, albumin and other proteins stay in the bloodstream at appropriate levels.

If albumin is found in your urine, it can indicate that your kidneys aren’t functioning properly. During this test, we’ll collect your urine in a cup and send it to a lab for testing.

We can also measure the levels of albumin found in your blood. An abnormal amount of albumin in your blood can indicate that your kidneys aren’t functioning properly. We’ll draw a small amount of blood and send the sample to the lab for testing.

Creatinine test

Creatinine is a waste product that your kidneys filter out of your bloodstream. If the level of creatinine in your blood is high, it could indicate a problem with your kidneys. We use a blood test to measure the amount of creatinine in your blood.

GFR (Glomerular Filtration Rate)

The results of your creatinine test are used to calculate your GFR. The GFR tells us your level of kidney function. Most adults have a normal rating of higher than 60 milliliters per minute. A rating of 60 milliliters per minute or lower might mean you have a loss of kidney function.

Biopsy

In some cases, a kidney biopsy might be needed to accurately diagnose your condition. It’s typically used after another test shows that there’s a kidney issue. During a biopsy, a small piece of kidney tissue is removed for examination under a microscope. This is done to look for inflammation or scarring. A biopsy can also be used to show how quickly kidney disease is progressing. We’ll use local anesthetic as needed to help keep you as comfortable as possible during the procedure.

Kidney treatments we offer

If you’ve learned you have a kidney condition, you’re not alone. We’re here to help. There are many ways we can work with you to maintain and improve your kidney function.

Hypertension management

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, forces blood vessels in your kidneys to stretch so they can handle the more forceful flow of blood. Over time, these blood vessels thicken and become stiff, which can cause less blood to reach your kidneys, potentially causing kidney disease. Regular blood pressure checks, blood tests and urine tests can help your doctors manage your hypertension and screen for any kidney damage.

Diabetes management

People with diabetes have a higher amount of sugar in their blood. Too much blood sugar can damage blood vessels in the kidneys. We work closely with our team of endocrinologists to monitor your blood sugar levels and monitor for any changes in kidney function. Working together, we can help reduce the risk of kidney disease or manage an existing condition.

Lifestyle changes

Making changes to your lifestyle is often an effective treatment in managing chronic kidney disease. Switching to a low sodium diet, limiting alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, exercising regularly and managing stress can help improve or maintain your kidney function. You don’t need to make all changes at once. We’re here to support you as you make positive changes for your health. And we can connect you with other members of our team, like dietitians and mental health specialists, who can offer guidance.

Medication therapy management

Medicine can help manage kidney conditions, either on their own or in combination with other treatments. Medication therapy management helps you get the most benefit out of your medications. Medicines are typically prescribed to lower blood pressure, control blood glucose and lower cholesterol. Your treatment team will continually monitor your progress, provide education on any new prescriptions, keep track of your medication lists and help you feel in control of your treatment.

Our care coordinators also work with you to help manage the costs of your prescriptions. We understand that medication can be expensive. If you’re not able to afford your medicines, we can help you find an assistance program that will help cover the costs of the medications you need. If you have any concerns or questions about paying for your medications, please talk to your doctor, nurse or care coordinator.

Dialysis

Dialysis can replace the functions of your kidneys by filtering blood, removing excess fluid and waste, and balancing electrolytes. There are two types of dialysis, hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. During hemodialysis, your blood will be filtered through an artificial kidney machine in order to remove waste. Hemodialysis can be done in a center or in the home. During peritoneal dialysis, we’ll use a catheter in your abdomen to help filter out waste in your blood by pumping dialysis solution into the catheter and later draining it once the dialysis solution has absorbed the waste.

If dialysis is needed, we’ll provide detailed information about your different options and help you choose the option that will work best for you. We’ll provide resources to help you learn more about dialysis, kidney transplants and other treatments, including the Kidney Smart education program. One of our top priorities is that our patients are informed and involved with choosing the avenue of care that will fit best with their unique lifestyle.

We work with patients at a number of dialysis centers in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. You can choose the location most convenient to you.

Kidney transplant

In a kidney transplant, a healthy kidney from a donor is implanted into your body. If a kidney transplant is needed, we’ll refer you to transplant centers of excellence. We work closely with many fantastic transplant centers to ensure that our patients smoothly transition from our care to theirs. After a kidney transplant, you’ll work closely with your transplant team the first year of your recovery. Then, our talented nephrologists will take over you kidney care.

We offer support and guidance as your prepare for and recover from a kidney transplant. Our team can help you get on the waiting list, find a surgeon and prepare for surgery. Our nephrologists also offer pre-transplant evaluation and follow-up care after your transplant.

As a first step, we recommend scheduling an appointment with one of our primary care doctors. Our primary care providers are experts at diagnosing hundreds of conditions. If your primary care provider recommended you see a nephrologist, please choose one of these options:

Frequently asked questions (FAQS)

Yes, our primary care doctors can perform routine tests if you are at a higher risk of kidney disease, like if you have hypertension or diabetes. Based on those results, we can refer you to one of our kidney specialists if needed. Primary care doctors can also prescribe antibiotics and other medicines to treat kidney infections and kidney stones.

Kidney Smart is an important education program for people in any stage of chronic kidney disease. Through the program, you’ll learn more about kidney disease and treatment options, and you’ll connect with other patients recently diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. Classes are conducted by trained health care professionals at multiple locations and at no cost to patients.

We accept most health insurance plans, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, CIGNA, HealthPartners, Medica, Medicare, PreferredOne and many others.

Not sure what your insurance covers? Call the number on the back of your card for help looking at your options.

Don’t have your card in front of you? Here are member services numbers to help you get started: