Treatment Options for Kidney Failure

If the kidneys fail, blood is no longer filtered. Waste and extra fluids build up in the body, and chemicals become out of balance. This can make you ill and even cause death. Though kidney failure has no cure, certain treatments can help keep the body working the best it can.

Peritoneal dialysis



Dialysis is a treatment that filters the blood. There are 2 types of dialysis:

  • Hemodialysis filters blood with a filter attached to a machine. Blood travels from your body to the machine, is cleaned, and then returns to your body.

  • Peritoneal dialysis uses the natural lining in your abdomen. A fluid placed inside your abdomen works with the lining to clean your blood.

Image of kidney transplant

Kidney transplant

A kidney transplant is a type of surgery. This is the way doctors prefer to treat kidney failure. Compared with dialysis, a transplant can offer you a better quality of life, as well as a longer life. A kidney is removed from another living person or from an organ donor who has just died. The donated kidney is then placed in the body of the person with kidney failure. Once in place, the new kidney takes over the work that the old kidneys can no longer do. If the transplant succeeds, dialysis isn't needed.


In addition to one of the treatments above, you may also need medicines to help with your kidneys' other tasks. Your healthcare team can tell you more about these medicines.