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During Allison Hartman’s 20-week pregnancy ultrasound, she and her husband, John learned that their baby, Alaric appeared to have an enlarged kidney. After getting a second opinion from an ultrasound specialist, it was confirmed that Alaric’s kidney was too large, a condition known as hydronephrosis. Affecting 1 in 100 babies, hydronephrosis is when urine overfills or backs up into the kidney, causing the kidney to swell.

In many babies who are diagnosed prenatally, hydronephrosis disappears by the time of birth or soon after. To make sure Alaric’s kidneys were functioning properly and to determine if the swelling had gone down, the Hartmans were referred to the urology division at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

In late October 2020, one week after Alaric was born, the Hartmans arrived at Dayton Children’s for an ultrasound and their first visit with Christopher Brown, MD, pediatric urologist. From the moment they walked through the door, the Hartmans had a great experience.

“Dr. Brown was very thorough,” said Allison. “He took his time, showed us pictures and made sure we understood what was going on.”

Based on Alaric’s first clinic visit with Dr. Brown, it was determined that the best plan of action was to continue to monitor the appearance of his kidneys and to make sure Alaric didn’t develop a urinary tract infection and that he was producing enough urine.

After 8 months of monitoring Alaric’s urine output and the degree of hydronephrosis, the Hartmans returned to Dayton Children’s for repeat imaging and a follow-up appointment with Dr. Brown. Dr. Brown had hoped Alaric’s hydronephrosis would disappear as he got older, but the imaging showed a blockage in his ureter that seemed to be worsening as Alaric was growing. This type of blockage is also known as an ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction.

The only way to resolve an UPJ obstruction is to undergo surgery. To reduce the amount of scarring and to speed up the recovery time, Dr. Brown recommended performing the surgery laparoscopically with the assistance of robotic technology. A laparoscopic surgical procedure would allow Dr. Brown to access the blockage without having to make large incisions in Alaric’s skin.

On September 10, 2021, Alaric had surgery on his UPJ obstruction - Dr. Brown removed the blockage and placed a stent to help with the healing process. That same day, Alaric was up and trying to walk around his hospital room,

unphased by the surgery that took place earlier that morning.

After a short hospital stay, the Hartman family was discharged and will continue to visit Dr. Brown at Dayton Children's for all of Alaric’s follow-up care, including follow-up surgery to remove the stent. Alaric and his parents went to Dayton Children’s south campus in Springboro to have his stent removed by Dr. Brown about a month after the initial surgery.

 “Going to south campus for surgery was so easy,” said Allison. “We were in and out in less than two hours.”

With the stent removed, all restrictions have been lifted for Alaric.

Allison wants to remind other parents going through similar experiences to take a deep breath!

“Dayton Children’s provides the best care for kids. As parents we felt taken care of, too. It’s comforting to know that while your child is getting care, everyone on their staff goes out of their way to make sure you have everything you need, as well.”