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Dialysis initiation for patients with decompensated cirrhosis when liver transplant is unlikely.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The purpose of this review is to describe an approach that emphasizes shared decision-making for patients with decompensated cirrhosis and acute kidney injury when liver transplantation is either not an option, or unlikely to be an option.

RECENT FINDINGS: When acute kidney injury occurs on a background of decompensated cirrhosis, outcomes are generally poor. Providers can also be faced with prognostic uncertainty. A lack of guidance from nephrology and hepatology professional societies means that providers rely on expert opinion or institutional practice patterns.

SUMMARY: For patients who are unlikely to receive liver transplantation, the occurrence of acute kidney injury represents an opportunity for a goals of care conversation. In this article, we share strategies through which providers can incorporate more shared decision-making when caring for these patients. The approach involves creating prognostic consensus amongst multidisciplinary teams and then relying on skilled communicators to share the prognosis. Palliative care consultation can be useful when teams need assistance in the conversations.

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