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Edward Ahrens

Nephrology / Madison Area Renal Specialists


What is so fascinating about a kidney?
The kidney does so many different things. Laypeople aren’t aware that it clears toxins. It has a role in controlling blood pressure; it has a role in anemia. It’s a more complex organ than what people may think on the surface, and kidney failure affects people in a lot of different ways.

What are some misconceptions about the specialty?
I didn’t appreciate how you get to know people really well. When people are on dialysis, they’re in the dialysis unit week after week, year after year, and you really get to know the patient, their family, the whole situation, for better or for worse. Being on dialysis is, and I don’t want to give the wrong impression, it’s kind of like a little fishbowl because you’re there all the time. Things that you may not be aware of in terms of family dynamics, for instance, over time come out, and I think that’s a little different from other fields.

Do you foresee any significant breakthroughs for the field of nephrology?
People are trying to develop artificial kidneys, trying to culture kidney cells, to grow kidneys that are implanted. I think there will be some evolution in that direction, but I don’t think it’s going to happen in my career.



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