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Waitematā DHB Renal Services

Public Service, Nephrology

Kidney Failure

This is when a patient’s kidneys are unable to remove wastes and excess fluid from the blood. Kidney failure is divided into two general categories, acute and chronic. 
Acute kidney failure occurs suddenly and may be the result of injury, loss of large amounts of blood, drugs or poisons. Kidneys may return to normal function if they are not too badly damaged.
Chronic renal failure means kidney function has slowly worsened over a number of years and often the kidneys do not get better. When chronic renal failure has progressed to end stage renal disease (ESRD), it is considered irreversible or unable to be cured.
Renal replacement therapy
Renal replacement therapy is a treatment that removes wastes and excess fluid from the blood when patients’ kidneys are not able to do it on their own. It comes in a number of forms, both continuous and intermittent, involving filtration and dialysis.  In acute renal failure, the dialysis may only be needed for a few days or weeks while the kidneys recover. In some cases long-term dialysis and/or a kidney transplant may be needed.

This page was last updated at 9:12AM on June 1, 2021.