The number of patients with end-stage kidney disease 65 years and older is growing, and this growth is expected to continue. The presence of medical comorbidities, limited life expectancy, frailty, and poor functional status in these patients poses substantial challenges in clinical decision-making and provision of optimal care. Frailty is more common in elderly patients with CKD than without and is associated with poor outcomes. Several prognostic tools were developed to estimate the rate of CKD progression among elderly, and risk of mortality after dialysis initiation. Risk factors for CKD progression among elderly include low estimated glomerular filtration rate, high baseline proteinuria, acute kidney injury, low serum albumin, and presence of congestive heart failure. The decision to initiate dialysis in the elderly should take into consideration life expectancy, risks and benefits of each dialysis modality, quality of life, and patient and caregiver preferences. This article discusses common issues in the elderly with end-stage kidney disease, with particular emphasis on the impact of frailty and functional status, choice of dialysis modality and vascular access, and prognosis after dialysis initiation, to assist the nephrologist in making decisions regarding optimal care for this complex group of patients.
- End-stage kidney disease
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