If you have ESRD, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. There is no cure for ESRD, but many people live long lives while having dialysis or after having a kidney transplant.

There are many options for treating kidney failure, including kidney transplant and several types of dialysis. Your doctor can help you figure out which treatment is best for you.

It is important to know that dialysis cannot do everything that healthy kidneys do. Therefore, even when you are on dialysis, you may experience some of the complications of kidney failure.

You may also decide that you do not want any treatment for your kidney failure. In this case, you might consider medical management, which can help you live comfortably until your body can no longer function.


One treatment for kidney failure is called hemodialysis, or “hemo” for short. This type of treatment uses a machine to clean your blood, and it can be done at a dialysis center or at home. Learn more about in-center hemodialysis and home hemodialysis.

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Peritoneal dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis is a treatment that uses the lining of your abdomen (belly area), called your peritoneum, and a cleaning solution called dialysate to clean your blood. Peritoneal dialysis may be done at home or even at work if you have a suitable area. Learn more.

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Kidney transplant

A kidney transplant is a surgery to give you a healthy kidney from someone else’s body. A kidney transplant may come from a live donor (usually someone you know) or from a deceased donor. The healthy kidney can do the job that your kidneys did when they were healthy. Learn more.

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Medical management

You may choose not to start dialysis or get a kidney transplant. Medical management is a way to treat the symptoms of kidney failure to help you live comfortably until your body can no longer function. It is important to understand that medical management is not a treatment for kidney failure and it will not keep you alive. Learn more.

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