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End-stage kidney disease

Definition

End-stage kidney disease is the last stage of chronic kidney disease. This is when your kidneys can no longer support your body’s needs. The kidneys remove waste and excess water from the body.

Alternative Names

Renal failure - end stage; Kidney failure - end stage; ESRD

Causes

End-stage kidney disease (ESRD) is when the kidneys are no longer able to work at a level needed for day-to-day life.

The most common causes of ESRD in the U.S. are diabetes and high blood pressure. These conditions can affect your kidneys.

ESRD almost always comes after chronic kidney disease. The kidneys may slowly stop working over 10 - 20 years before end-stage disease results.

Symptoms

Common symptoms may include:

Other symptoms may include:

Exams and Tests

Your health care provider will perform a physical exam and order blood tests. Most people with this condition have high blood pressure.

Patients with end-stage kidney disease will make much less urine, or urine production may stop.

End-stage kidney disease changes the results of many tests. Patients receiving dialysis will need these and other tests done often:

This disease may also change the results of the following tests:

Treatment

Dialysis does some of the job of the kidneys when they stop working well.

Dialysis can:

Your health care provider will discuss dialysis with you before you need it. Dialysis removes waste from your blood when your kidneys can no longer do their job.

Two different methods are used to perform dialysis:

A kidney transplant is surgery to place a healthy kidney into a person with kidney failure. Your doctor will refer you to a transplant center. There, you will be seen and evaluated by the transplant team. They will want to make sure that you are a good candidate for kidney transplant.

You may need to follow a special diet for chronic kidney disease. These changes may include:

Other treatment depends on your symptoms but may include:

You should be up-to-date on important vaccinations, including:

Support Groups

Some people get benefit from taking part in a kidney disease support group.

Outlook (Prognosis)

End-stage kidney disease leads to death if you do not have dialysis or a kidney transplant. However, both of these treatments can have risks. The outcome is different for each person.

Possible Complications

References

Fogarty DG, Tall MW. A stepped are approach to the management of chronic kidney disease. In: Taal MW, Chertow GM, Marsden PA et al. eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 61.

Himmelfarb J, Ikizler TA. Hemodialysis. N Engl J Med. 2010 Nov 4;363(19):1833-45. Review. PubMed PMID: 21047227.

Tonelli M, Pannu N, Manns B. Oral phosphate binders in patients with kidney failure. N Engl J Med. 2010 Apr 8;362(14):1312-24.

Abboud H, Henrich WL. Clinical practice. Stage IV chronic kidney disease. N Engl J Med. 2010 Jan 7;362(1):56-65.

KDOQI. KDOQI Clinical Practice Guideline and Clinical Practice Recommendations for anemia in chronic kidney disease: 2007 update of hemoglobin target. Am J Kidney Dis. 2007;50:471-530.

KDOQI: National Kidney Foundation. II. Clinical practice guidelines and clinical practice recommendations for anemia in chronic kidney disease in adults. Am J Kidney Dis. 2006;47(5 Suppl 3):S16-S85.

Palmer SC, Navaneethan SD, Craig JC, Johnson DW, Tonelli M, Garg AX, et al. Meta-analysis: erythropoiesis-stimulating agents in patients with chronic kidney disease. Ann Intern Med. 2010;153:23-33.



Review Date: 10/2/2013
Reviewed By: Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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