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End Stage Kidney Disease


End-stage kidney disease (ESRD) is when your kidney function is so poor that you need dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant to survive. ESRD usually occurs after long-term kidney disease.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Intake and output:

Healthcare providers will keep track of the amount of liquid you are receiving each day. They also may need to know how much you are urinating. Ask how much liquid you should drink each day.


You may be weighed each day. Healthcare providers will compare your weight from day to day to see how much fluid you are gaining or losing.


is continuous monitoring of your heart rhythm. Sticky pads placed on your skin connect to an EKG machine that records your heart rhythm.


Medicines are given to decrease blood pressure, pain, or itching. You may also need medicine to decrease nausea, or to treat or prevent anemia (low number of red blood cells).


Blood tests will show how well your kidneys are working and if you have any other health conditions caused by ESRD.


  • Surgery may be needed to create an arteriovenous fistula (AVF) in your arm or insert a catheter into your abdomen. This is done so you can receive dialysis.
  • Dialysis is a treatment to remove chemicals and waste from your blood when kidneys can no longer do this.
  • A kidney transplant may be done to replace your kidney with a healthy, donor kidney.


ESRD and dialysis increase your risk for infections and bleeding. They may also increase your risk for a condition that causes severe body pain and a rash. You may have an increased risk of heart disease or heart failure. Without treatment, ESRD is life-threatening.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.