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Children's of Alabama Announces New Center for Care of Kidney Patients

BIRMINGHAM (May 16, 2014) - The Pediatric and Infant Center for Acute Nephrology (PICAN) has opened at Children’s of Alabama to provide specialized care for children and infants with acute kidney disease.

The PICAN uses a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses and dialysis experts to provide state-of-the-art comprehensive clinical care to children whose kidneys do not function properly due to disease or injury. Through ongoing research, the center is able to employ the latest equipment and therapies to treat these young patients who have a sudden loss of kidney function. In addition, the center educates other pediatric centers across the country on ways to maximize efficacy of the therapy while reducing any potential risks.

Pediatric nephrologist David Askenazi, MD, MSPH, serves as director of PICAN. Assistant directors are Sahar Fathallah-Shaykh, MD, Namasivayam Ambalavanan, MD and Santiago Borasino, MD.

Approximately five percent of all children admitted to the hospital and 25 percent of children admitted to the intensive care units at Children’s develop a sudden loss of kidney function. Many would not survive without renal support therapy.

Last year, more than 850 acute renal support therapies were performed at Children’s, the state’s only freestanding medical facility. Askenazi said he expects these numbers to continue to increase as PICAN improves the ability to care for these infants and children.

Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children since 1911, offering inpatient and outpatient services throughout central Alabama. Last year, families made more than 670,000 outpatient and nearly 14,000 inpatient visits to Children’s from every county in Alabama and from 45 other states and four foreign countries. With more than 2 million square feet, Children’s is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. and has been ranked among the top children’s hospital programs in the country for the past four years by US News & World Report. More information is available at