Renal failure

Also called: kidney failure

Kidney failure means that kidneys have failed and no longer work well enough to keep someone alive without dialysis or a kidney transplant. The word renal refers to kidneys, so you may see both of these words used. Therefore, kidney failure and renal failure mean the same thing—your kidney function is below 10% to 15% and you need renal replacement therapy to stay alive.

If your kidney failure happened suddenly, due to a reaction to medicine, an accident or other reason, that is called acute kidney failure. Sometimes with acute renal failure, kidney function can return after a time on dialysis; however, if kidneys are permanently damaged dialysis or a transplant will replace kidney function.

Related articles on DaVita.com

Organizations

Get Free Kidney-Friendly Cookbooks

Kidney Care Begins with Kidney Smart®

Learn more and get your questions answered in a no-cost kidney education class.

How Is Kidney Function Measured?

Learn how your glomerular filtration rate (GFR) serves as an indicator of kidney function.

Find a Dialysis Center

Call 1-800-424-6589 now to talk to one of our placement specialists.