Kidney Failure Treatment Comparison

Living with kidney disease can be challenging and overwhelming at times as you navigate the major lifestyle changes, complex medical decisions, and multiple medications that come with kidney failure.

Generally speaking, there are three main treatments if your kidney failure is permanent; dialysis, a deceased donor transplant or a living donor transplant.

Treatment TypeProsCons
  • Allows you to live without functioning kidneys
  • Preserves your life while you look for a donor
  • High mortality rate: 1 year: 75-80% survival rate
  • 5 years: 35% survival rate
Deceased Donor Transplant
  • Dialysis is no longer required
  • Lower risk of death than on dialysis
  • Better quality of life than on dialysis
  • Fewer dietary restriction than on dialysis
  • Donors are often older and may not be in the best of health
  • Constantly on call—transplants happen with no warning
  • Average wait time is 3-10 years
  • Kidney life of 10-15 years
Living Donor Transplant
  • Less time on a waitlist and less time on dialysis
  • Donor goes through extensive health testing
  • Better outcomes
  • Less medication
  • Lower mortality rates
  • Last twice as long as deceased donor kidneys (20-40 years)
  • Surgery is a challenge for those not in good health
  • Requires searching for a donor
  • Involves someone else (often a loved one) undergoing surgery