How is metabolic acidosis managed in children with chronic kidney disease (CKD)?

Updated: Jul 21, 2020
  • Author: Sanjeev Gulati, MD, MBBS, DNB(Peds), DM, DNB(Neph), FIPN(Australia), FICN, FRCPC(Canada); Chief Editor: Craig B Langman, MD  more...
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The kidneys play a critical role in acid-base homeostasis by excreting an acid load (produced by cellular metabolism and skeletal growth in children) and preventing bicarbonate loss in the urine. An increasing tendency to retain hydrogen ions has been observed among patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), eventually leading to a progressive metabolic acidosis. In children, overt acidosis is characteristically present when the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) is less than 30 mL/min per 1.73 m2 (stage IV).

The acidosis in chronic kidney disease in children can be associated with an increased or normal anion gap. Guidelines recommend maintaining a serum bicarbonate level of 22 mmol/L. If necessary, the authors recommend supplementation with sodium bicarbonate, started at 1-2 mEq/kg/d in 2-3 divided doses; the dose is titrated to the clinical target.

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