Objective: This study evaluated the incidence, epidemiology, aetiology and outcome of chronic renal failure (CRF) in Jamaican children < 12 years old between 2001 and 2006.
Methods: The required data on all children who fulfilled inclusion criteria were obtained from their medical records at the University Hospital of the West Indies, Bustamante Hospital for Children and from practitioners in hospitals serving children islandwide.
Results: Eighteen new children (72.2% male) presented with CRF. The cumulative annual incidence was 4.61/million child population under age 12 years or 1.14/million total population. Congenital urological disease (44.5%) was the commonest cause of CRF, followed by glomerulonephritis (33.3%). Half of the cases of glomerulonephritis were secondary to HIV-associated nephropathy. Although all children with posterior urethral valves were diagnosed before age 6 months and promptly treated, renal failure present at birth proved irreversible. The mean age at diagnosis of CRF was 6.72 years. Ten children (55.6%) were already in CRF at first presentation with renal disease. Of these, the five with non-urological disease were already in End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). Mortality was 44.4%. Five children died in ESRD without the benefit of dialysis.
Conclusion: The incidence of CRF has increased from the 1985–2000 local study and is mainly due to urological pathology which progresses despite early diagnosis and treatment. Non-urological renal disease is presenting too late for therapeutic intervention. Greater public awareness of symptoms of renal disease is needed. Children’s access to dialysis is unpredictable. A paediatric dialysis and transplantation programme is needed.