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Care at the End of Life - Important Decisions

Kidney dialysis

Deciding when to stop kidney dialysis can be a difficult decision for people who have kidney failure. A person with kidney failure needs dialysis or a kidney transplant to sustain life. Kidney failure often occurs after kidney damage has been present for 10 years or more. It usually is caused by a chronic disease, such as chronic renal disease or diabetes, that slowly damages the kidneys and reduces their function over time.

Although dialysis sustains life, it is not a cure for kidney failure. Having kidney disease means making difficult choices. Many people with kidney failure live active, productive lives while having regular dialysis treatment. But others do not feel as healthy and struggle with the complications of dialysis.

For more information on this decision, see:

Should I Stop Kidney Dialysis?

Cardiac devices

If you have a heart device such as a pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), talk to your doctor. You may want to have it turned off if you are terminally ill. Your doctor can explain how your heart device might affect you as you die.

Write down your decision about whether or not you want to have your heart device turned off and add this to your advance directive.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 06, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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