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Lupus and Lupus Kidney Disease - Dialysis and factors that make it successful


Dialysis and factors that make it successful

The success of dialysis depends on three main factors:-

  1. The determination of the person receiving the dialysis to overcome problems and to make dialysis a success.
  2. How much lupus has damaged other parts of the body such as the lungs or joints (the kidneys do not matter much once dialysis is started!).
  3. Technical complications of dialysis. These include infections, which can be commoner in lupus patients who have received high doses of immunosuppressant drugs in the past.

Details of the two types of dialysis and its complications are given elsewhere on the NKF website (Click the following links for more details on haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis).

The good thing about kidney failure is that, in most cases, it seems to reduce the activity of lupus. Many people can have their steroids and other immunosuppressants stopped after starting dialysis, though others need to stay on low doses of these drugs.

If kidney failure becomes so severe that dialysis treatment is required, a lupus patient may also be suitable for a kidney transplant, depending on tests for suitability.


Suitability for transplantation

So long as someone with lupus has negative blood tests for the lupus antibodies (dsDNA), transplantation can proceed in the same way as for other people with kidney failure. Testing for heart disease is still important, so not everyone with negative anti-dsDNA antibodies is fit for a transplant (Click here for more details of transplantation).

Someone with lupus can receive a kidney from a relative in the same way as for other people(Click here for more details on living donors).

The success of kidney transplantation in people with lupus are about the same as for other types of kidney disease (Click here for more details on transplant survival). Lupus can occasionally come back in the transplant. This is usually mild kidney disease but sometimes can cause failure of the transplant. The drugs given to stop the body rejecting a kidney transplant are called immunosuppressants and will also have an effect on lupus, reducing the chance of recurrent lupus.

Return to Lupus main page (Are dialysis and transplantation possible for a Lupus patient?)


The National Kidney Federation cannot accept responsibility for information provided. The above is for guidance only. Patients are advised to seek further information from their own doctor.

NKF Controlled Document No. 32: Dialysis and factors that make it successful written: 20/11/2000 last reviewed: 16/03/2015