Residual renal function and dialysis modality: Is it really beneficial to preserve residual renal function in dialysis patients?

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Residual renal function (RRF) contributes to the achievement of treatment adequacy in stage 5 chronic kidney disease (CKD-5) patients. It may facilitate patients' acceptance of renal replacement therapy (RRT) in allowing reduction of treatment time duration and minimising dietary and fluid restriction. It has been confirmed to improve dialysis patient outcomes. Attempts to preserve RRF in incident Stage 5 chronic kidney disease patients are still subject to intense controversies in the nephrology community. The aim of this review is to analyse the role of renal replacement modalities in the maintenance of RRF in dialysis patients. Under the scope of this manuscript, four questions are explored: Is the preservation of residual renal function an objective for dialysis adequacy? Does dialysis modality affect the decline of RRF? What are the factors implicated by this loss of RRF? At what expense can the maintenance of RRF be achieved in dialysis patients? Preservation of RRF is undoubtedly an interesting means to enhance the efficacy of renal replacement therapy and reduce dietary fluid restriction but it should not be considered as a goal of dialysis adequacy in dialysis patients. Further, preservation of RRF must be considered as a permanent trade-off between patient comfort and chronic fluid volume overload.

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