Billy the Kidney Demonstrates Important Principles of Kidney Disease

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Last July, for my Dad’s 65th Birthday, I managed to somehow convince the Indiana branch of the National Kidney Foundation to loan me their “Billy the Kidney” mascot costume. While it was in my possession, I figured why not get a little creative and use Billy to help illustrate some important manifestations of kidney disease and/or physiology. See if you can guess what each of the following four poses represents (you can scroll down to the bottom for the full answers.)

#1: #2:
#1 = acute renal failure.
#2 = polycystic kidney disease.
#3 = passing a stone.
#4 = “taking a leak” (in case you can’t tell, the vegetable my daughter is handing Billy the Kidney is a leek. Yeah, I know, that’s one bad joke.)


  1. I put a link up on my page to your new Pediatric Nephrology blog. Good luck!

  2. An FDA advisory panel just recommended yesterday that the warning label for Covidien’s Optimark and GE’s Omnisca—drugs in the family of medications known as gadolinium-based contrast agents (DBCAs)—be updated to restrict their use in patients with severe kidney disease because of the potential for an increased risk of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF). NSF causes thickening of the skin and organs. GBCAs carry a strong “black box” warning. This site has good information on this issue:

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