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Novel conservative management of chronic kidney disease via dialysis-free interventions.


Purpose of review

In advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients with progressive uremia, dialysis has traditionally been the dominant treatment paradigm. However, there is increasing interest in conservative and preservative management of kidney function as alternative patient-centered treatment approaches in this population.

Recent findings

The primary objectives of conservative nondialytic management include optimization of quality of life and treating symptoms of end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Dietetic-nutritional therapy can be a cornerstone in the conservative management of CKD by reducing glomerular hyperfiltration, uremic toxin generation, metabolic acidosis, and phosphorus burden. Given the high symptom burden of advanced CKD patients, routine symptom assessment using validated tools should be an integral component of their treatment. As dialysis has variable effects in ameliorating symptoms, palliative care may be needed to manage symptoms such as pain, fatigue/lethargy, anorexia, and anxiety/depression. There are also emerging treatments that utilize intestinal (e.g., diarrhea induction, colonic dialysis, oral sorbents, gut microbiota modulation) and dermatologic pathways (e.g., perspiration reduction) to reduce uremic toxin burden.


As dialysis may not confer better survival nor improved patient-centered outcomes in certain patients, conservative management is a viable treatment option in the advanced CKD population.

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