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What is End-Stage Renal Disease?

By: Anapol Weiss

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) involves the gradual loss of kidney function – the process responsible for filtering waste and excess water from the blood. When patients are diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), their kidneys are not functioning well enough on their own to meet the needs of daily life. Patients with ESRD have less than 10 to 15 percent of normal kidney function.

A physician may perform one or more of the following tests to diagnose ESRD:

  • Blood test

  • Urine test

  • Renal ultrasound

  • Kidney biopsy

  • Computed tomography scan (CT scan)

Patients with ESRD or severe symptoms often undergo dialysis either at a center or in their home. Dialysis takes over kidney function by removing waste and fluid from the blood. Laboratory tests will help patients and their physicians decide when dialysis should begin. Dialysis does not cure ESRD, but it helps patients feel better and live longer, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Some patients with ESRD undergo kidney transplant surgery. While dialysis is not a cure for ESRD, a new kidney can take over the function of the failed kidneys. Patients who undergo a kidney transplant will need to take medication for the rest of their lives in order to keep the transplanted kidney healthy, the University of California San Francisco Medical Center explains.

When ESRD Could Have Been Prevented

Two population-based analyses published in January 2016 have associated a class of stomach acid drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) with an increased risk of CKD. PPIs reduce the production of acid made by the stomach glands and include brand names such as Prevacid and Nexium.

Patients who took PPI drugs and developed kidney disease could now be facing ESRD. They would have likely made a different decision with their physician about their medication had they been warned of these dangers, but now it’s too late.

Contact our firm for assistance if you took a PPI drug over an extended period of time and are suffering from severe or end-stage kidney disease. We can investigate your situation and answer any legal questions you have.