How is end-stage renal disease treated?

How is end-stage renal disease treated?

A person who has end-stage renal disease needs either a kidney transplant or dialysis. A transplant can involve the patient receiving a kidney from someone who has died or from a living donor, possibly a family member. Tests will determine a match between donor and recipient. After the transplant surgery, the donated kidney will take over the work of cleaning the blood in the body and removing the waste. Since the donated kidney comes from another person, anti-rejection medications (called immunosuppressant drugs) will have to be taken regularly for the rest of the person’s life to make sure the donated kidney continues to work properly.

There are two common forms of dialysis. In hemodialysis, the blood is removed from the body. The blood goes through a machine which “cleans” the blood and then returns it to the body. Peritoneal dialysis involves placing a clean solution into the peritoneum area of the abdomen through a catheter tube. Waste material is pulled into the solution. After a period of time, the solution which has the waste material is removed from the body.

At what point is dialysis needed for end-stage renal disease?

Dialysis might be started when kidney function is below 15%. People waiting for a kidney transplant may need to go on dialysis while waiting for a donor.

What are some of the complications of end-stage renal disease?

Several complications may need to be treated for someone with end-stage renal disease. These include:

  • Edema (swelling from fluid buildup) in the legs, ankles, hands, arms and feet
  • Anemia (not enough red blood cells)
  • High potassium levels
  • High phosphorus levels
  • Excess fluid buildup around the lungs
  • Higher risk of infection
  • Bone disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Temporary or permanent damage to the brain

Do I need to follow a special diet if I have end-stage renal disease?

Patients receiving dialysis often have to limit fluids, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. Even though dialysis can be used to remove fluids, the body still can have a buildup of some fluid. For patients who are receiving hemodialysis, more dietary restrictions may be needed than for patients receiving peritoneal dialysis. Patients who undergo peritoneal dialysis may need more protein than do hemodialysis patients. It is important for all people who receive dialysis to see a dietician.