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Treatment For Kidney Failure

March 22, 2022 In Kidney Failure

Every year, millions of Americans struggle with kidney failure, a condition where your body is unable to properly filter your blood. Damage to any organ can be devastating, and kidney failure is no different. This condition can lead to serious health complications and even death without prompt treatment.

Kidney failure treatment can be intensive and require the support of a dedicated medical team. If you are diagnosed with this disease or notice any symptoms of kidney failure, speak to a medical professional, and create a treatment plan that works for you. 

Understanding Kidney Failure

Kidney failure occurs when your kidneys are unable to filter waste products and excess fluid from your blood. Without properly functioning kidneys, toxins and waste can build up in the blood, leading to serious complications and conditions.

There are two types of kidney failure: acute and chronic. Acute kidney failure, also known as acute renal failure, develops very quickly. The kidneys suddenly stop working due to trauma or a medical emergency, requiring intensive treatment.

In chronic kidney disease, kidney decline begins gradually and becomes progressively worse over time. Doctors measure the progression of the disease by analyzing the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a measurement of your kidney function based on creatinine levels in the blood.

There are five stages of chronic kidney disease.

  • Stage 1 Kidney Disease: You have a normal to highly functioning kidney with an eGFR of 90 or higher.
  • Stage 2 Kidney Disease: You have a mild decrease in kidney function with an eGFR range between 60–89.
  • Stage 3 Kidney Disease: You have developed a mild to moderate decrease in kidney function. In stage 3a, you have an eGFR between 45–59. In stage 3b, your eGFR is between 30–44.
  • Stage 4 Kidney Disease: You have a severe decrease in kidney function and your eGFR is between 15–29.
  • Stage 5 Kidney Disease: You are very close to experiencing complete kidney failure or your kidneys have already failed. Your eGFR is less than 15.

What Are the Treatment Options For Kidney Failure?

Treatment Options for Kidney Failure

There are many treatment options available for patients with kidney failure. During its early stages, your medical team may recommend that you make healthy lifestyle changes and undergo treatment to care for complications or comorbidities that contribute to the disease. 

During end-stage kidney failure, you will require dialysis or a kidney transplant. 


Hemodialysis is a process where a machine filters out waste products, salts, and excess fluid from your blood. The machine essentially performs the function of the kidneys in patients with advanced kidney failure. 

During the procedure, you will sit in a chair and have two needles inserted into your arm. Your blood will then enter the machine, undergo filtration, and circulate back into your body. Your medical staff will carefully monitor your heart and blood pressure rates during this time. 

If you undergo hemodialysis, you will need to stick to a strict treatment schedule and attend appointments at a dialysis facility. Most people receive hemodialysis three times per week during 3–5-hour sessions. 

In some cases, you could also perform hemodialysis at home. These sessions will involve more frequent, shorter sessions, usually six to seven days per week with 2-hour sessions. Your kidney specialist can help you understand the best treatment option for you.

Your medical team will also help you prepare for hemodialysis, which can take several weeks to months. You will need to undergo surgery to improve vascular access to your bloodstream, making it easier for blood to be removed during the dialysis process. 

What is Peritoneal Dialysis?

Peritoneal dialysis is a different type of dialysis treatment. Like hemodialysis, this process involves filtering out waste, salt, and fluid from the blood. Unlike hemodialysis, however, your blood never leaves your body during a peritoneal dialysis procedure.

When you undergo this treatment, a tube or catheter is inserted into your abdomen. The lining of your abdomen, also known as your peritoneum, contains blood vessels that naturally filters waste products from the blood. 

During peritoneal dialysis, a cleansing fluid known as dialysate will flow through the catheter into your abdomen for about 4–6 hours. This solution contains dextrose, which helps filter waste from the blood vessels in the peritoneum. When the procedure is over, the remaining solution and waste products will drain into a collection bag. 

Kidney Transplant Surgery

Kidney transplant surgery is one of the most effective treatments for kidney failure. During this procedure, a surgeon removes unhealthy or damaged kidneys from the body and replaces them with a healthy, functioning organ. You can obtain this kidney from a healthy living or deceased donor, as long as the organ is compatible with your body.

It can take a long time to prepare for a kidney transplant and you will need to be in good overall health to be a candidate for surgery. To find a kidney donor, you will need to consider several factors, including blood type compatibility, tissue typing results, and crossmatching. 

After the procedure, you will need to spend several days up to a week in the hospital. As you recover, you will need to attend regular checkups with your medical team. For the rest of your life, you will need to take a number of medications to prevent your body from attacking and rejecting your organ and reduce the risk of other complications, like an infection.

What Is the Life Expectancy for Someone with Kidney Failure?

The life expectancy for kidney failure can vary. Factors such as age, overall health, the stage at which you were diagnosed, and your ability to receive a transplant can influence your prognosis. Many people can live for years following their kidney failure diagnosis.

Kidney failure is a devastating disease and can be very expensive to treat. However, you may be eligible for compensation if you believe that someone else is responsible for your condition. Many kidney disease patients are filing lawsuits against manufacturers of defective drugs like Truvada, which has a history of causing kidney problems in patients.

If you believe that a defective drug is responsible for your kidney failure, it is important to consult with a lawyer. As soon as possible following your diagnosis, speak to a defective drug lawsuit attorney to discuss your case eligibility and plan your next steps.