Options for advanced kidney disease

As kidney disease gets worse, the kidneys lose their ability to filter blood. As a result, waste builds up in the body.

When kidneys fail, treatment is needed to keep a person alive. Two choices help those with end-stage kidney disease: dialysis and transplant. Your doctor can help you know which is best for you.


Dialysis removes waste from the blood. There are two types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.

When a person has hemodialysis, their blood is filtered by a machine. A nurse or other caregiver inserts a catheter into a blood vessel. Blood is filtered through a machine over several hours. Then clean blood is returned to the body.

It’s done several times a week to keep toxins from building up.

With peritoneal dialysis, doctors use the lining of the abdomen as a filter.

A small catheter is put in the abdomen. A fluid washes in and out. This may happen during the day, allowing you to have a normal life. It can also happen at night while you sleep.

Kidney transplant

Some people want to avoid dialysis. For others, dialysis is used while waiting for other options, like transplants.

A transplant is a major surgery where a damaged kidney is replaced with a healthy one. In many cases, people donate kidneys to help those with end-stage kidney disease.

Not everyone can have a transplant. You must pass a series of tests, including those for other medical conditions. You must also commit to making healthy choices to protect your new kidney.

If you want a transplant, your doctor can help you know if it could be right for you.