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Treatments for End-stage Renal Disease (ESRD)

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Treatments for End-stage Renal Disease (ESRD)

ESRD is the last stage of chronic kidney disease (CKD). It is treated with dialysis or a kidney transplant. Dialysis is not a cure for ESRD. It will need to be done for life or until a kidney donor is found.

Some people choose not to start dialysis. Treatment will then focus on comfort care. Comfort care helps ease other problems caused by ESRD, such as pain or anemia.

Lifestyle habits also play a role. Changes in how a person eats can help manage symptoms.

Medicine will also be used to treat other health problems that cause more harm to the kidneys, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

ESRD treatment may include:


  • Choosing a treatment for kidney failure. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/kidney-failure/choosing-treatment.
  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD) in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd-in-adults.
  • Complications of chronic kidney disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/complications-of-chronic-kidney-disease.
  • What is kidney failure? National Kidney Foundation website. Available at: https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/KidneyFailure.


  • Mark S. Itzkowitz, MD, JD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.