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 acutely ill patients as well as those with chronic illness who require long term care. A doctor who specialises in disorders of the kidneys is called a nephrologist. Conditions seen by a nephrologist may include:

• Acute renal failure – the sudden loss of kidney function
• Chronic, or long term, renal failure – gradual worsening of kidney function
• Haematuria – blood loss in the urine
• Proteinuria – protein loss in the urine
• Kidney stones
• Chronic or frequent urinary tract infections
• Hypertension – that has not responded to antihypertensive therapy.

Many kidney disorders may be treated with medications and diet, but if kidney function starts to fail and the condition becomes severe there are several options: Haemodialysis (using a machine to filter the blood), Peritoneal dialysis (using fluid into the lining of the belly), kidney transplantation and non-dialysis therapy.


Common Conditions

  • Assistance with Travel Costs

    Click here to download a travel assistance brochure.
    This outlines what help you can get to cover your travel costs that relate to your renal diease. More PDF

  • Advanced Care Planning

    Advanced care planning is all about keeping you in control of your own healthcare even if you become unable to speak for yourself.… More

  • Cyclosporin Patient Information

    More PDF

  • Etidronate Instructions


    Take 2 tablets each morning for 2 weeks at a time.… More

  • Kidney Failure

    This is when a patient’s kidneys are unable to remove wastes and excess fluid from the blood.… More PDF

  • 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.… More

  • Parathyroidectomy - Patient Information

    More PDF

  • Polycystic Renal Disease - A Family Guide

    Click here to download information for families who have a member with polycystic renal disease. More PDF

  • Polycystic Renal Disease - A Patient Guide

    Click here to download information for patients diagnosed with polycystic renal disease. More PDF

  • Renal Biopsy - Patient Information

    More PDF

  • Reducing Your Salt Intake.

    Click here to view a document explaining why salt is a problem and how you can eat less.… More PDF

  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

    A UTI is caused by an infection in the urinary tract.… More

  • Websites That Contain Quality Information

    Below are links to some websites that the local renal specialists recommend:… More

  • Family Meeting Brochure

    Click here to download a brochure describing the family meetings we run in the Renal Service. More PDF

  • Your Rights and Responsibilities within the Renal Service

    As a team we are all very motivated to provide you with the best healthcare we can.… More

  • Potassium: How to Reduce your Blood Level

    Click here to get advice on what foods to eat to help reduce your blood potassium level. More PDF


Kidney Health New Zealand has a website that contains information about kidney disease, support groups and patient information including helpful advice on chronic kidney disease and nutrition.

Contact Details

Bay of Islands Hospital
Hospital Road

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Street Address

Bay of Islands Hospital
Hospital Road

Postal Address

Bay of Islands Hospital
Hospital Road
PO Box 290

Whangarei Hospital


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Kaitaia Hospital


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This page was last updated at 3:42PM on June 12, 2018. This information is reviewed and edited by Northland DHB Renal.