About 15% of adults in the United States-37 million persons-have chronic kidney disease (CKD). Chronic kidney disease is divided into 5 groups, ranging from stage 1 to stage 5 CKD, whereas end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) is defined as permanent kidney failure. The treatment options for ESKD are kidney replacement therapy (KRT) and conservative management. The options for KRT include hemodialysis (either in-center or at home), peritoneal dialysis, and kidney transplant. Conservative management, a multidisciplinary model of care for patients with stage 5 CKD who want to avoid dialysis, is guided by patient values, preferences, and goals, with a focus on quality of life and symptom management. In 2015, the Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative recommended that patients with an estimated glomerular filtration rate below 30 mL/min/1.73 m be educated about options for both KRT and conservative management. In 2018, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommended that assessment for KRT or conservative management start at least 1 year before the need for therapy. It also recommended that in choosing a management approach, predicted quality of life, predicted life expectancy, patient preferences, and other patient factors be considered, because little difference in outcomes has been found among options. Here, 2 experts-a nephrologist and a general internist-palliative care physician-reflect on the care of a patient with advanced CKD and mild to moderate dementia. They discuss the management options for patients with advanced CKD, the pros and cons of each method, and how to help a patient choose among the options.

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