Can I Stop Dialysis and How Long Can I Live

Dialysis is a procedure that is a substitute for many of the normal duties of the kidneys. The kidneys are two organs located on either side of the back of the abdominal cavity. Dialysis can allow individuals to live productive and useful lives, even though their kidneys no longer work adequately.

How long will I live if I choose to stop dialysis?

This varies from person to person. People who stop dialysis may live anywhere from one week to several weeks, depending on the amount of kidney function they have left and their overall medical condition.

After dialysis is stopped, death may follow in days or weeks. As death nears, several physical and emotional changes may be experienced, including:

Excessive sleepiness and weakness as periods of wakefulness become shorter and overall energy declines.

Breathing changes, such as periods of rapid breathing and periods of no breathing.

Visual and hearing changes, such as seeing or hearing things that no one else experiences.

Appetite changes, such as eating or drinking less than normal.

Urinary and bowel changes. Your urine may become dark brown or dark red, and stools may be hard or difficult to pass.

Changes in body temperature, such as alternating between having a high body temperature and feeling very cold.

Emotional changes, such as becoming less interested in the outside world and the specific details of daily life, including the date or time.

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