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Southern DHB Nephrology (Renal) Services

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    The Nephrology Service is a tertiary level service provider and is responsible for the care of all patients with kidney disease.

    What is Renal Medicine?

    Renal medicine, or nephrology, is the branch of medicine that involves the diagnosis and management of people with diseases and conditions of the kidneys.

    Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, found at the back of your abdominal cavity, that filter out wastes and excess fluid from your blood and excrete them as urine.

    Renal medicine includes the urgent care of patients with acute kidney problems as well as those with chronic kidney disease. A doctor who specialises in disorders of the kidneys is called a nephrologist. Conditions seen by a nephrologist may include:

    • Acute kidney injury – the sudden loss of kidney function
    • Chronic kidney disease – gradual worsening of kidney function
    • Haematuria – blood in the urine
    • Proteinuria – protein in the urine
    • Kidney stone - prevention (urologists primarily manage kidney stones)  
    • Recurrent or complex urinary tract infections
    • Hypertension and those at high risk of secondary causes of hypertension or difficult to manage

    Patients with end stage kidney disease requiring renal replacement therapy (dialysis and transplantation)

    There is an unstaffed haemodialysis room at Dunstan Hospital (2-3 chairs) and a dialysis room at Invercargill (1-2 chairs) for away from home haemodialysis. For access to Dunstan or Invercargill haemodialysis rooms, please contact the SDHB Dialysis Service on 03 470 9345, or Dialysis Service SM,  for more details. Please note, access to the Invercargill dialysis room is only for use during normal business hours between Monday and Friday, subject to availability.







    • Professor Robert Walker

      Renal Physician
    • Dr John Schollum

      Renal Physician
    • Dr Tracey Putt

    • Dr Animesh Chatterjee

      Dr Animesh Chatterjee

      General & Renal Physician

    Kidney Failure

    This is when a patient’s kidneys are unable to remove wastes and excess fluid from the blood. Kidney failure is divided into two general categories, acute and chronic.

    Acute kidney injury occurs suddenly and may be the result of injury, infection, drugs or poisons. Kidneys may return to normal function if they are not too badly damaged.

    Chronic kidney disease means kidney function has slowly deteriorated over a number of years and often the kidneys do not get better. When chronic kidney disease progresses to end stage renal disease (ESRD), it is considered irreversible or unable to be cured.  The most common cause of end stage kidney disease in New Zealand is diabetes.

    Dialysis is a treatment that removes wastes and excess fluid from the blood when patients’ kidneys are not able to do it on their own. It comes in a number of forms, both continuous and intermittent, involving filtration and dialysis. In acute kidney injury the dialysis may only be needed for a few days or weeks while the kidneys recover. In some cases long-term dialysis may be needed.

    Dialysis in the SDHB is based is a home based service with training undertaken at Dunedin Hospital.


    Kidney transplantation

    The best treatment for end stage kidney disease is a kidney transplant.  Not all patients on dialysis are suitable for a kidney transplant but all patients on dialysis should be considered for a kidney transplant.

    Nephrology services in the SDHB belong to the South Island Renal Transplant Group. Transplant surgery usually takes place in Christchurch.

    Kidney Stones

    This term refers to stones in the urinary system. They form in the kidneys but can be found anywhere in the urinary system. 

    Kidney stones are managed acutely by urologists. 

    Some people with multiple kidney stones will be seen by Nephrology to investigate underlying cause and prevention.

    Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

    A UTI is caused by an infection in the urinary tract. Women get UTIs more often than men. UTIs are treated with antibiotics. Drinking lots of water also helps by flushing out the bacteria.
    If the infection is in the kidneys it is called pyelonephritis.