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Improving the understanding, detection, and management of kidney disease.

Kidney Failure

Kidney disease can get worse over time, and may lead to kidney failure. Kidney failure means advanced kidney damage with less than 15% normal function. Most people with kidney failure have symptoms from the build up of waste products and extra water in their body. End-stage renal disease (ESRD) is kidney failure treated by dialysis or kidney transplant.

If the kidneys fail, treatment options such as dialysis or a kidney transplant can help people live longer and healthier lives. If your kidney disease is progressing, talk with your health care provider about choosing a treatment that is right for you. Learn about what you can do to prepare for kidney failure and treatment.


The two main treatment options for kidney failure are dialysis or a kidney transplant. Since the kidneys no longer work well enough to maintain health, the goal is to find a treatment that can replace kidney function. Dialysis and kidney transplants are treatments—not cures—for kidney failure.

Resources are available that may help you pay for your kidney failure treatment.

Page last updated: October 2, 2013