Prognosis of Kidney Failure

Updated at: Jan 21, 2013
Prognosis of Kidney Failure

Chronic kidney disease progresses slowly to kidney failure. If kidney disease is not treated, it will progress to end-stage renal disease (until dialysis or transplant is required). Treatment can slow the progress of kidney disease to kidney failu

Dr Poonam Sachdev
Kidney DiseasesWritten by: Dr Poonam SachdevPublished at: Jun 19, 2012

There is no cure for chronic kidney disease or kidney failure. Treatment can slow the progress of kidney disease to kidney failure. If kidney disease is not treated, it will progress to end-stage renal disease (until dialysis or transplant is required).

Prognosis of acute kidney failure

Acute renal failure in many cases improves rapidly with the start of renal supportive treatment and by controlling or stopping the underlying cause such as stopping the medication or reversing whatever caused the situation. Duration of renal failure may vary considerably from person to person and is affected by factors such as the cause of the kidney problem and the duration of renal failure before treatment is started. In some cases, acute kidney failure may progress to end-stage renal disease.

Prognosis of chronic kidney failure

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) can vary in severity from mild to severe. Mild-to-moderate CKD is common in older people. Even with appropriate treatment, kidney disease tends to get worse gradually over months or years. The rate of progression is variable and depends on several factors including the severity of any underlying condition, associated medical problems and treatment. In some people, kidney disease may worsen rapidly and progress to kidney failure. In most cases, CKD progresses very slowly. According to research, only few people with CKD progress to an end-stage kidney failure (stage 5 CKD) that requires kidney dialysis or kidney transplant.

Chronic kidney disease increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks and many other complications. In CKD, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) occurs more rapidly and this increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and heart failure. Research has shown that heart disease is the most common cause of death in people with kidney disease.

Other possible complications of kidney failure include:

  • anaemia
  • increase in tendency to bleed from the stomach or intestines
  • bone, joint and muscle pain
  • increased risk of developing high blood sugar
  • brain and nervous system problems such as dementia, damage to nerves of the legs and arms (peripheral neuropathy)
  • collection of fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion)
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • pericarditis (inflammation of the lining if heart)
  • increased levels of electrolytes such as high phosphorous levels, high potassium levels
  • hyperparathyroidism (can cause bone pain)
  • increased risk of infections
  • liver damage or failure
  • malnutrition and unintended weight loss (weight loss when you are not trying to lose weight)
  • miscarriages and infertility
  • stroke and seizures
  • swelling (edema) of feet and ankle
  • weakening of the bones and increased risk of fractures.

Prognosis of dialysis and kidney transplant

End-stage renal disease or kidney failure requires dialysis or transplant. According to studies, the overall five-year survival rate of people undergoing dialysis is about 32%. The prognosis is worse for elderly and those with diabetes. After kidney transplant, two-year survival rate for kidney transplant from a living and related donor is greater than 90% and from a cadaver donor (dead donor) is about 88%.




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