Kidney disease in children is diagnosed the same way it is in adults. A urine test, blood test, imaging test, or kidney biopsy can help determine if something is wrong with the kidneys.

The eGFR (estimated glomerular filtration rate) blood test shows how well the kidneys are working. The stages of kidney disease are decided by a person’s eGFR. eGFR can be used to diagnose a child’s stage of kidney disease once the child reaches age two.

A healthy newborn baby’s eGFR will be between 40 and 60, which is considered low for adults. Doctors test for kidney disease in children under two-years-old using methods other than eGFR including a urine or imaging test.

Stages of kidney disease in children and adults ages 2+

Stage 1

Kidney damage with normal or increased GFR

eGFR (Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate) (mL/min/1.73 m2) - 90 or above and other signs of kidney damage present

Stage 2

Kidney damage with mild decrease GFR

eGFR (Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate) (mL/min/1.73 m2) - 60-89 and other signs of kidney damage present

Stage 3a

Mild to moderate decrease GFR

eGFR (Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate) (mL/min/1.73 m2) - 45-59

Stage 3b

Moderate to severe decrease GFR

eGFR (Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate) (mL/min/1.73 m2) - 45-59

Stage 4

Severe decrease GFR

eGFR (Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate) (mL/min/1.73 m2) - 15-24

Stage 5

Kidney failure

eGFR (Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate) (mL/min/1.73 m2) - Less than 15