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Dialysis can be a life-saving treatment for people with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or kidney failure. It is also used in cases of severe kidney injury or acute renal failure. Your kidneys are vital organs that filter waste and excess fluid from your blood. When kidneys become damaged due to illness, such as chronic kidney disease (CKD), or an acute kidney injury (AKI), your doctor may prescribe dialysis to filter your blood.

 In most cases, once a patient starts dialysis, he or she will not survive without it. However, in a few cases, patients have improved and the disease has gone into remission, allowing them to stop dialysis. Here is some information on this phenomenon, courtesy of Dr. Satynarayan Garre of Associates in Nephrology.

How the Kidneys Work

The kidneys manage the fluid and electrolyte balance of the body and remove waste products from the bloodstream. If the kidneys are injured by toxins or other disease processes, they may fail. Dialysis is a medical procedure that takes over kidney functions and removes waste products from the blood.

 It can be used to support the damaged kidneys or to completely replace kidney function. If the failure is an acute process, it may be a temporary condition, and supporting kidney function through dialysis is needed only until the kidneys recover.

Most people start dialysis after their CKD develops into end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and will stay on it long-term. CKD is a progressive disease and there is currently no way to reverse kidney damage, meaning that once your kidneys stop working properly, you’ll need a transplant or ongoing dialysis to filter your blood and preserve any remaining kidney function.

If you do require long-term dialysis, there are many treatment options available to fit not only your medical needs but your lifestyle as well.

When Is Dialysis Temporary?

While most people on dialysis will stay on it for the long term, dialysis can be temporary in cases where kidneys abruptly lose the ability to filter and clean your blood. Then, doctors may recommend dialysis for a short time until your kidneys recover function.

Some situations that may cause AKI and call for temporary dialysis include1:

  • Decrease in blood flow to the kidneys caused by a heart attack, heart failure, or heart disease
  • Direct damage to your kidneys caused by physical injury or toxic medication
  • Ureters (your kidneys’ drain tubes) become blocked caused by kidney stones or cancer and waste cannot leave your body through your urine


These situations are rare and often happen suddenly when a person is already in a hospital setting with a serious injury or illness.

Dialysis for Chronic Kidney Disease

There is currently no way to reverse chronic kidney damage, so people with kidney failure need regular dialysis to replace kidney function. The only way to safely stop dialysis is through a successful kidney transplant.

A kidney transplant requires surgery to implant a new kidney from a living or deceased donor into the body of a patient with kidney failure. Talk to our nephrologist DR.Satyanarayana Garre and the kidney care team if you are interested in a transplant as an option.


Treatment Options to Fit Your Lifestyle

Most people with ESRD who start dialysis will need it on an ongoing basis. Thankfully, for those who require ongoing treatment, advancements in dialysis technology, such as home therapies, mean that there are more ways than ever to dialyze in a way that fits your lifestyle. With dialysis, it’s possible to work, travel, and thrive.

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