• What is pediatric nephrology?

Pediatric Nephrology is the study of kidney disease in children and young adults.
Pediatric nephrologists diagnose, treat, and manage many disorders affecting the kidney and urinary tract, including kidney failure, kidney transplantation, high blood pressure, inherited kidney diseases, bedwetting, kidney stones, urinary tract infections, lupus and abnormalities in the urine such as blood and protein. They also know how to evaluate and treat problems with growth and development that are specifically related to chronic kidney disease.

  • What is the cause of kidney disease in children and teens?

The most common kidney diseases in children involve abnormalities in how the kidneys form and urine is made and leaves the body during pregnancy (Congenital Abnormalities of the Kidneys and Urinary Tract – CAKUT).  This is often found on prenatal ultrasound.  These abnormalities can range from mild to severe.  Dr. Benfield is available to discuss these problems, appropriate evaluation and long term outcomes with you at any time during your pregnancy.  Other common problems include reflux of the urine from the bladder back into the kidneys, obstruction of urine getting out of the kidneys, and bladder and kidney infections.

Some diseases develop during childhood in an otherwise normal kidney.  These include Nephrotic syndrome, Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis, and many forms of Chronic Glomerulonephritis. 

Finally, high blood pressure (Hypertension) is a common problem in children.  This is sometimes seen with other kidney disease, sometimes associated with obesity, and sometimes seen with no other apparent medical problems.  Our office has expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of hypertension from all causes in children and young adults.

  • What are the special dietary guidelines for children with kidney disease?

Each patient has different dietary needs based on their kidney disease and kidney function.  Dietary restrictions may include

  • Low sodium (salt) diet
  • Monitoring potassium intake
  • limited phosphorus intake
  • low fat diet

Dr. Benfield will discuss dietary guidelines with you and your child.

  • What is the easiest way to communicate with your office staff if I have questions or if I would like to know and test results?

Our office has a secure email system that is set up through our medical record that allows us to communicate with our families.  If you are not already set up in the email system, please call our office to do that.   You will be able to receive test results and communicate with Dr. Benfield and our staff in an efficient and secure way.  You may also call our office at (205)558-3200.

  • The secure email should only be used for non-urgent matters?
  • Are most procedures and tests done in your office?

We have a kidney ultrasound machine in our office.  This is a non-invasive procedure that allows Dr. Benfield to take a picture of your child’s kidney.
If your child needs a kidney biopsy, Dr. Benfield will perform the biopsy.  The biopsy will be done at Children’s Hospital.

  • If procedures or testing is done at Children's hospital, where do I go? 

Children’s Hospital is located at 1600 7th Avenue South.  Outpatient registration is located on the 2nd floor. 

  • What should I expect if my child has to be hospitalized for his/her kidney related problem?   Dr. Benfield will be your child’s physician and make all of the decisions related to his/her medical care while in the hospital. 
  • When and how will I receive test results? 
    • Renal Ultrasound

Dr. Benfield has specialized training in renal ultrasonography.  This is a non-invasive procedure that will provide Dr. Benfield with a picture of your child’s kidney.  Should your child need a kidney ultrasound, he will be able to provide you with the result of the ultrasound immediately (while you are in our office). 

  • Blood Tests and urine tests

Blood tests can be done at a lab for your choice for convenience.

  •  How much notice does your office require in case I need to cancel my appointment?

Please cancel appointments 48 hours in advance.

  • What should I do if I need a prescription refill?

Request for a prescription refill should be done 1 week before your child is out of the medication.   You may request a refill by phone during regular business hours or you can send an email request through our secure Electronic Medical Record email system.
You should expect that it could take up to 48 hours to process a medication refill.          

  • What if my child is sick after business hours, on weekends, or on a holiday?

    You should call the office phone number, (205)558-3200.  We have an answering service that answers all calls during non-business hours.  You will provide them with your child’s name, problem, and your telephone number.  The answering service will page Dr. Benfield and he will return your call.

  • What are your office hours:

Mon-Thurs 8 am -5 pm
Friday 8 am -12 noon
Closed on Weekends and Holidays