11 December 2018
Background: Residual kidney function (RKF) is often expected to inevitably and rapidly decline among hemodialysis patients and, hence, has been inadvertently ignored in clinical practice. The importance of RKF has been revisited in some recent studies. Given that patients with end-stage renal disease now tend to initiate maintenance hemodialysis therapy with higher RKF levels, there seem to be important opportunities for incremental hemodialysis by individualizing the dose and frequency according to their RKF levels. This approach is realigned with precision medicine and patient-centeredness. Summary: In this article, we first review the available methods to estimate RKF among hemodialysis patients. We then discuss the importance of maintaining and monitoring RKF levels based on a variety of clinical aspects, including volume overload, blood pressure control, mineral and bone metabolism, nutrition, and patient survival. We also review several potential measures to protect RKF: the use of high-flux and biocompatible membranes, the use of ultrapure dialysate, the incorporation of hemodiafiltration, incremental hemodialysis, and a low-protein diet, as well as general care such as avoiding nephrotoxic events, maintaining appropriate blood pressure, and better control of mineral and bone disorder parameters. Key Message: Individualized hemodialysis regimens may maintain RKF, lead to a better quality of life without compromising long-term survival, and ensure precision medicine and patient-centeredness in nephrology practice.