The role of time–limited trials in dialysis decision making in critically ill patients

Jennifer S. Scherer, Jean L. Holley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Technologic advances, such as continuous RRT, provide lifesaving therapy for many patients. AKI in the critically ill patient, a fatal diagnosis in the past, is now often a survivable condition. Dialysis decision making for the critically ill patient with AKI is complex. What was once a question solely of survival now is nuanced by an individual’s definition of quality of life, personal values, and short– and long–term prognoses. Clinical evaluation of AKI in the critically ill is multifaceted. Treatment decision making requires consideration of the natural evolution of the patient’s AKI within the context of the global prognosis. Situations are often marked by prognostic uncertainty and clinical unknowns. In the face of these uncertainties, establishment of patient-directed therapies is imperative. A time–limited trial of continuous RRT in this setting is often appropriate but difficult to execute. Using patient preferences as a clinical guide, a proper time–limited trial requires assessment of prognosis, elicitation of patient values, strong communication skills, clear documentation, and often, appropriate integration of palliative care services. A well conducted time–limited trial can avoid interprofessional conflict and provide support for the patient, family, and staff.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-353
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 5 2016


  • Acute kidney injury
  • Communication
  • Decision making
  • Humans
  • Intensive care unit
  • Palliative care
  • Quality of life
  • Renal dialysis
  • Renal replacement therapy
  • Time-limited trials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of time–limited trials in dialysis decision making in critically ill patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this