Urinalysis: A routine test of the urine by a machine and often by a person looking through a microscope. Urinalysis can help detect infections, inflammation, microscopic bleeding, and kidney damage.
Kidney ultrasound: A probe placed on the skin reflects sound waves off the kidneys, creating images on a screen. Ultrasound can reveal blockages in urine flow, stones, cysts, or suspicious masses in the kidneys.
Computed tomography (CT scan): A CT scanner takes a series of X-rays and a computer creates detailed images of the kidneys.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan): A scanner uses radio waves in a magnetic field to make high-resolution images of the kidneys.
Urine and blood cultures: If an infection is suspected, cultures of the blood and urine may identify the bacteria responsible. This can help target antibiotic therapy.
Ureteroscopy: An endoscope (flexible tube with a camera on its end) is passed through the urethra into the bladder and ureters. Ureteroscopy generally cannot reach the kidneys themselves, but can help treat conditions that also affect the ureters.
Kidney biopsy: Using a needle inserted into the back, a small piece of kidney tissue is removed. Examining the kidney tissue under a microscope may help diagnose a kidney problem.
Antibiotics: Kidney infections caused by bacteria are treated with antibiotics. Often, cultures of the blood or urine can help guide the choice of antibiotic therapy.
Nephrostomy: A tube (catheter) is placed through the skin into the kidney. Urine then drains directly from the kidney, bypassing any blockages in urine flow.
Lithotripsy: Some kidney stones may be shattered into small pieces that can pass in the urine. Most often, lithotripsy is done by a machine that projects ultrasound shock waves through the body.
Nephrectomy: Surgery to remove a kidney. Nephrectomy is performed for kidney cancer or severe kidney damage.
Dialysis: Artificial filtering of the blood to replace the lost function of damaged kidneys. Hemodialysis is the most common method of dialysis in the U.S.
Hemodialysis: A person with complete kidney failure is connected to a dialysis machine, which filters the blood and returns it to the body. Hemodialysis is typically done three days per week in people with ESRD.
Peritoneal dialysis: Placing large amounts of a special fluid in the abdomen through a catheter, allows the body to filter the blood using the natural membrane lining the abdomen. After a while the fluid with the waste is drained and discarded.
Kidney transplant: Transplanting a kidney into a person with ESRD can restore kidney function. A kidney may be transplanted from a living donor, or a recently deceased organ donor.