by Carmack A

ESRD is the last stage of chronic kidney disease (CKD). It is treated with dialysis or a kidney transplant. The doctor will talk to you about the risks and benefits of both treatments. 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 you eat will make you feel better. Medicine is used to treat other health problems that cause more harm such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Your care team is made up of many types of health professionals. This includes doctors, surgeons, nurses, and pharmacists. Keep in touch with your team and go to recommended appointments. This will help you get the most from the treatments.

ESRD treatment may include:

Lifestyle changesMedicationsSurgeryOther treatments: Dialysis


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Updated January 18, 2019. Accessed July 8, 2019.

Complications of chronic kidney disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Updated February 5, 2019. Accessed July 8, 2019.

Conservative management. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: Updated January 2018. Accessed July 8, 2019.

Murphree DD, Thelen SM. Chronic kidney disease in primary care. J Am Board Fam Med. 2010;23(4):542-550.

O'Connor NR, Corcoran AM. End-stage renal disease: symptom management and advance care planning. Am Fam Physician. 2012;85(7):705-710.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
  • Review Date: 07/2019
  • Update Date: 10/04/2019