Skip to content


Have you had a kidney transplant or are waiting for one? Then visit the Organ Transplant Community and the Diabetes and Kidney Community to share your experiences with other community members!

Are you newly diagnosed? Use the WebMD search engine to read articles like Understanding Kidney Disease.
93-year-old Mom with Stage 4
otterhere2 posted:
Hi, all. My beloved mom, whom I've been caring for for the past three years, has multiple health problems and also has, since April, had a JPEG (feeding) tube, as she wasn't taking in sufficient food or fluid by mouth to prevent dehydration and maintain nutritional health. She's had chronic kidney failure for many years, including one episode of acute kidney failure which responded to treatment, going back to baseline. At that time, she was in the hospital for acute heart failure, which also responded to treatment, and we consulted with the local nephrologist (we have only one in our small town), who told me bluntly that "we don't perform dialysis on anyone over 90." She's now at the point where she's very symptomatic, with GFR around 22, and not feeling well most of the time. I would be open to peritoneal dialysis (I already manage her PEG tube at home), but am worried that the doctor won't agree to even that given her age and other health issues. I'm not in favor of just sitting by and watching her die of renal failure! Anyone have an input/experience with this? I know it's relatively rare in this country vs. hemodialysis, but I agree that would be too awful, and it would also be nearly impossible to get her to a center and back. I certainly hope my mom won't be deprived treatment due to age discrimination! She's currently very itchy all the time, sleeping a lot more, very irritable and agitated when awake, and having headaches.
john-skpt responded:
I've done both peritoneal and hemodialysis. (I was in my late 30's at the time, so the two situations aren't exactly comparable.)

Peritoneal was easier on the cardiovascular system than hemo, but it was tedious doing the exchanges, and avoiding infection/peritonitis was a constant worry. If the patient is diabetic then it can really complicate things since most dialystates are dextrose-based.

I can see why the docs don't want to start hemo on an elderly patient with a history of heart complications, but you might pursue PD, with an understanding that there aren't any 'miracle' fixes at this point.

How does your mom feel about this? What are her reservations? A lot of folks want to hang on as long as possible; others have had good lives and would rather let things progress than drag them out.

I might be a bit out of place in saying this, but I think that this is an emotional decision more than a medical one. Ask her what SHE wants, forget about whatever you might want. And if you decide to treat, the best of luck to you. It won't be simple, and there are risks, but it might extend things for a few more months.

Spotlight: Member Stories

Hello i'm a 23year old young woman from Texas. I had my last kidney transplant in June 2006 has been successful with no complications. This was my...More

Helpful Tips

I have a uti and severe kidney pain, Is this common?
I have a uti and such bad kidney pain that I can hardly move, I cant bend down and it hurts more than I can explain. the pain comes and ... More
Was this Helpful?
0 of 0 found this helpful

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.