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How Long Could a Patient Survive on Dialysis

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  • How Long Could a Patient Survive on Dialysis

    This is a pretty common question frequently asked by people who undergoing dialysis or plan to. How long can I live? What about my lifespan? How long could a patient survive on dialysis?

    Statistics collected reveals that some people, for instance Ed Strudwick, who has lived with dialysis for nearly 36 years on hemodialysis; others, by contrast, could live as short as several months or even weeks. So what are the influencing factors associated with dialysis?

    The adequacy of dialysis matters.

    Due to the limited medical conditions of dialysis center or economic condition is not that good; a great deal of ESRD patients couldn’t access an adequate dialysis. Inadequate dialysis brings many problems and complications place the patients at high risks. On the contrary, those who enjoy a sufficient dialysis won’t have those problems and are able to be in a good health.

    Take exercises, make certain life-related changes and follow a kidney-friendly diet do help.

    Some may think people on dialysis should better not take exercises just like healthy people, which is totally wrong. Moderate exercise can be helpful to promote the immunity and enhance one’s strength. But intensive exercises should be avoided, they may not help, but harmful. Lifestyle modification is necessary. Quit smoking if you are a smoker. Excessive consumption of alcohol can cause severe damage to the kidneys. So cut off the consumption of alcohol is vital to the survival as well as one’s quality of life. Kidney-friendly diet benefits because it can help reduce kidneys’ heavy burden.

    Since sudden death is pretty common in people on dialysis, so preventing its occurrence means a lot. It is able to improve the survival rate and lifespan significantly. According to the report from USRDS, more than half of the cardiac deaths in dialysis patients are the result of cardiac arrest. It is also shown that the older the patients are, the higher risk they will suffer. By taking ACE inhibitors, angiotensin-receptor blockers and some other certain drugs help reduce the mortality. But those drugs are often underutilized in ESRD or Renal Failure patients.

    How long could a patient survive on dialysis? It depends on not just the patients’ physical condition, age, gender, how early dialysis is received, but also how serious his illness condition is. Apart from all those factors, the influencing factors above are also essential.

  • #2
    I have been on it 10 years..I am 50 years old..It has ruined my life...if you call this who knows how long I can live,,too long


    • #3
      Hello ginayerian
      Ten years is a long time! You must be doing well. Hope you're just going through a tough day. The weather doesn't help at all. Hang in and if you want to vent, just let it out, I'm usually on everyday.
      Take care!
      Last edited by Kathleen54; 01-14-2015, 01:13 PM. Reason: Made a typo


      • #4
        There are scores of comorbidities that shorten the life span of individuals on dialysis. In a large number of these instances, kidney failure, and subsequently dialysis, is the result of other medical issues and frequently occurring near end of life. Additionally, the adequacy of dialysis on a 3X weekly in-center regimen is marginal at best, with individuals most frequently developing complications from the combination of fluid build up and blood toxicity between Friday and Monday or Saturday and Tuesday treatments.

        The 5X or 6X weekly treatment regimen of HHD has been shown to avoid the medical challenges associated with 3X weekly dialysis by delivering more and frequent dialysis, which better emulates the functioning of normal kidneys. When you take into consideration the effect of a single missed treatment by a 3X weekly dialysis patient - 33% of their weekly dialysis and an up to 4 days between treatments, vs. a single missed treatment - 17 to d20% of the 5X or 6X weekly dialysis and up to 2 days between treatments, it's no wonder patient health and longevity on HHD is improved/increased.

        I've treated in-center when it was convenient to do so during extended business trips. While I enjoyed the change of pace and the attention I got as a "do it yourself" visiting HHD patient, I would say, "it's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there".

        A fellow from my church had long suffered with a lung disease that required him to carry around a portable breather and tubing to supply oxygen(?) through his nostrils. While the rig (a pack slung over his shoulder) was certainly cumbersome, the man appeared vital, and was mobile. He received a double lung transplant after many years of "carrying the pack", and that was the beginning of the end. A litany of complications from the lung transplant brought him close to death on numerous occassions, and he remained hospitalized for the better part of a year. When he finally got out of the hospital and returned to regular church services, he had lost close to 100 pounds from his former rather large self. Within two or so years, his kidneys failed, the likely result of the regimen of immunosuppresents he was on for the transplanted lungs, and he died shortly thereafter. If he did receive dialysis, he clearly didn't survive very long and would have become one of the statistics that skews dialysis survival to the short end of the spectrum. If he didn't receive dialysis, he likely died as the result of kidney failure and the dialysis survival statistics would have been spared.

        The man's quality of life while in the hospital recovering from a double lung transplant was certainly poor. I can only hope that his quality of life for the relative short time that he survived after hospitalization as a double lung transplant patient was more than enough to make up for his years of "carrying the pack". I can't help but believe that the man (early 60's at time of death) would still be alive today, if it were not for the double lung transplant.


        • #5
          Been on dialysis 11 years. I did not know there was a time table as to how long dialysis patients can survive. I thought if we stuck to keeping our blood as clean as possible like normal people we could live like normal people.


          • #6
            Hello DilaudidPlease,

            Your logic is sound. Kidney failure is essentially the only major organ failure for which there is an effective ongoing treatment to sustain life - dialysis. Between dialysis treatments, toxins and fluid build up in the blood stream that the kidneys can no longer remove. Dialysis removes most of the toxins and fluid build up.

            In spite of a review of monthly lab work, which includes a pre-dialysis and post dialysis sample (clearance only), it is not possible to determine how clean the blood gets unless one conducts a post dialysis lab. I had a chance to do just that shortly after starting HHD by using an standing renal panel order that had been placed by my nephrologist that we were using monthly to gauge the state of my renal function. Prior to starting HHD training, I had been in Stage V for at least 6 months and my creatinine had reached the 6's and my GFR around 9. In spite of evidence of ESRD and essentially kidney failure, I experienced no physical or mental symptoms and only suffered from anemia (Hgb of 9.0). The blood draw immediately after hemodialysis revealed creatinine in the 4's and a GFR of 20 or approximately where my kidneys were performing some 2 years prior to starting dialysis. Additionally, my nutritional values were mostly below the established minimums for phosphorus, calcium, and potassium. All of this equates to adequate clearance and effective dialysis.

            I have been able to utilize nocturnal home hemodialysis on a regular basis since April 2013, which is even more effective in "cleaning the blood". It has afforded me many dietary and liquid consumption liberties. In fact, there is little different in my diet today than pre-dialysis. I'm simply more aware and more disciplined regarding consumption of foods and beverages that are high in phosphorus or potassium. What I've experienced during the past 2-1/2 years suggests that I could continue my regimen of HHD until end of life some 20 years down the road.