Diagnosing Kidney Disease

This information is useful for children, adults, and older adults
Why Yale Medicine?
  • We have deep expertise in kidney disease and are recognized nationally as a leader in renal pathology.
  • Our leading-edge technology, including electron microscopy, allows us to make accurate diagnoses.
  • We have tens of thousands of biopsy samples in an archive, which improves diagnosis accuracy.

With one of the country’s first renal pathology labs, Yale Medicine’s Department of Pathology is well-known for its expertise in renal (kidney) disease. “We have a longstanding tradition of excellence in kidney pathology,” says Gilbert Moeckel, MD, professor of pathology, and director of the Renal Pathology and Electron Microscopy Laboratory at Yale Medicine. “We have a great deal of experience and a large repository of previous cases,” he says. “We have the opportunity to study and compare tens of thousands of kidney biopsies, right here in our biopsy repository.” 

Yale Medicine has become a national leader known for leading-edge technology and extensive experience in renal pathology. “To make the best diagnosis on the kidney biopsy,” Dr. Moeckel says, “it’s important to have electron microscopy. That equipment is not found in every hospital or private practice physician clinic. We can do very detailed tests that nobody else can do.”

The kidneys are tasked with filtering waste products from the blood. A variety of conditions—including kidney stones, diabetes and high blood pressure—can interfere with kidney function and disable one or both kidneys. It’s possible to live a full life with only one functioning kidney. However, if both kidneys fail, dialysis (a mechanical system that cleans the blood) or a kidney transplant is needed. Kidney failure can happen suddenly or over a period of time.