How much extra time does dialysis give you?

My grandma who is 90 got her bloodwork back and her kidney function is at 35% and will probably require dialysis.If she goes ahead with the treatment,would it extend her life enough to matter,or would it do more harm than good?She is not in good health otherwise.

  1. Gary B, 26 May, 2010

    The prognosis for ANY dialysis patient is 5-7 years. Many go longer, but it is NOT indefinate.

    But your grandma is not yet ready for dialysis. Most doctors will not go to dialysis until the kidney function is under 20%. There is a good possibility that she will not need it.

    And dialysis is VERY hard on a patient. Almost ALL patients get sick from the temporary loss of blood (about a cup full is need to fill the dialysis machine. That lowers your blood pressure and makes you vomit) and many patients to not tolerate the anti-clotting drugs necessary, Also, the patients overall general health must be taken into consideration. Generally speaking, patients must be in good to fair general health (other than kidney failure) before dialysis is attempted.

    Unfortunatelye at 90, it is unlikely that your gransmother has 5-7 year of NATURAL life left. Living to 100 is VERY unusual. The 35% kidney function is probably a sign that she is getting ready to pass on, all by herself. in aged patients, kidney failure is often a primary sign of impending death.

    DO not be upset if the doctor does NOT recommend dialysis, considering it too risky given her age and general frail health.

  2. Chris R, 26 May, 2010

    Dialysis (in a typical person) can extend their life indefinitely meaning they would live just as long as anyone else would – only exception being they would be undergoing dialysis.

    If your elderly grandmother has other illnesses other then kidney failure, then these would have to be considered separately.

    Obviously this is a very sensitive topic and i dont want to cause any alarm or offence. I do wish you and your grandma all the best. And i hope i have been able to help in some way.

  3. Joanna M, 26 May, 2010

    Dialysis is a process that cleans the blood, It’s not particularly invasive or painful. There aren’t a whole lot of likely complications however, once your kidneys have stopped functioning, they will not heal or regain function. As such, people who need dialysis for kidney failure need to have it done around 2 to 3 times per week pretty much for the rest of their life. Without dialysis, kidney failure can and will lead to death, but with it, your grandma can live a life that’s pretty close to normal- she’ll just need to spend a few hours having her blood cleaned a few times a week.
    You mentioned that she is not in good health so dialysis willl not make any of the other problems better but it can help to deal with this one.

  4. It’s That Guy, 26 May, 2010

    If she needs to go on dialysis, it is her only chance to keep living. She will die in a matter of days or weeks otherwise. So it’s not a matter of ‘quality of life’ but of life itself.

    Your grandma at 90 is probably not a professional dancer, or a lumberjack, or a negligee model. Her lifestyle today is probably very quiet and calm. Dialysis could give her maybe several more years–which, depending on her outlook on life, might be a blessing or a curse

    It’s not horribly painful or anything, it is mostly just sitting in a chair next to a machine for 4 hrs, twice or 3 times a week. In fact it might be the only times she gets out of the house.

    MOST dialysis patients are not in good health generally. The kidneys have about 40 different functions, and dialysis only covers the most important one or two. The kidneys is where the body stores excess iron, so dialysis patients tend to be anemic all the time, to have no energy and have a hard time concentrating. In a 90 year old woman the difference might not even be noticeable.

    But unless she’s ready to leave this life, I’d say go for it. If it was -my- grandma, I’d want to have her around a little longer.

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