how high can creatinine levels go without dialysis ?

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New Member

Date Joined Sep 2012
Total Posts : 8
   Posted Yesterday 1:24 AM (GMT -7)   
I am back again with questions about my dad.
His creatinine level is now at 14. I didn't think that they could get that high, so how high can they get??
Dad has got pretty good urea, potassium results so far but his GFR is sitting on 4. Does the urea and potassium levels determine how high his levels can go?

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2012
Total Posts : 8
   Posted Yesterday 6:54 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey here are dads results for the week, can anyone tell me what is happening with it.
sodium -142
Potassium - 4.7
Chloride - 102
Bi carb - 22
Am gap - 23
Urea - 40.3
Creatinine - 1256 or 14.2
eGFR - 3

I understand more each day but when I look at these results I see inconsistancies that confuse me. Can the creatinine levels raising be fatal without the others raising or will he just continue to climb up without it affecting him.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1459
   Posted Today 5:05 AM (GMT -7)   
Everything seems pretty well except the creatinine Honestly, I am shocked at a creatinine that high, he is feeling ok. And the highest my creatinine was on peritoneal dialysis was 17.6, so to answer your question about how high it can go, i have no idea.

Is he still refusing dialysis?
Lupus Moderater

dialysis from lupus nephritis

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2012
Total Posts : 8
   Posted Today 3:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Thankyou so much for replying :-)
You have actually given a real answer, I am not getting many of those but it may be mainly because no one really knows what is happening. Yes dad is still refusing dialysis. I don't blame him really, he just wants to die with a bit of dignity I suppose.
He is very tired and has trouble keeping food down but overall he is not too bad.
A few weeks back he was taking strong pain pills and tablets for nausea and his creatinine level was 13 then he stopped -just refused- to take the pain pills and nausea ones and went from hardly eating and vomiting lots to eating well and his levels dropping to almost 12! We thought that he was heading to the end before he perked up again. But now his levels have crept up again but he is not feeling as tired and is eating okay -he had got to the point that he was refusing food most of the day. He is also not in a lot of pain, he is able to control it with a morphine patch and standard pain killers a few times a week.
So who knows what is happening within his body. I find it hard not knowing lots about how kidney failure works. On the internet you get lots of info until you get to end stage kidney failure and then it just says this is the last stage. None of the info I can source talks about having a creatinine level and a GFR that dad has. Its not that I want to know how long dad has its just making sense of the situation iykwim.
You wouldn't know of any info I can get about this would you?? Again thankyou :-)

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2012
Total Posts : 8
   Posted Today 3:26 PM (GMT -7)   
OH and 17.5 , wow! That is high. Honestly until very recently I thought that people couldn't live past 13..... I am learning new things every day.

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 12/27/2012 9:11 PM (GMT -7)   
My cousin's creatinine is already 21... and he is really really sick i could guess... and he's only 15 yrs old.. I couldn't eve bare to watch him...

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2012
Total Posts : 160
   Posted 1/17/2013 2:44 PM (GMT -7)   
When I was in the hospital last year for two weeks my levels went up each day and I maxed out at about 14 or so before it began going down. I didn't feel very sick at all, but I was on a high dose fentanyl patch along with fentanyl pushes every 8 hours for my back pain. At the time I was on a high dose morphine daily from my CP doctor but once I went to the hospital it had been 2-3 days w/o any pain medication and the doctors did not want me on any oral meds b/c of my kidneys.

I was borderline dialysis according to the doctors there. Every morning they would do a blood test and come talk to me about and every day I thought I would have to get on dialysis until my lvls went down finally.
Age: 28
DX: Lumbar spondylosis, Sacroiliitis, Lumbar radiculopathy, Lumbar disc disease, disc failure L4-L5, disc rupture L1, T11 right protrusion

Gizzy'n me
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts : 1870
   Posted 7/14/2013 8:37 AM (GMT -7)   
To questforanswers ...
  I admitted myself into the hospital in June of 2012 because I felt so spaced out. Later, the day of admittal, my daughter told me that my creatin level was at a near record level of 14 (I believe). I was in for about 7-days before being released to go back ome - and the target was I would be released only after the creatin level dropped into a certain range.
  I know the above sounds like no detail was available, but I remember a renal diet was high emphasized. And (not your fathers case), I had a nefrostomy tube put in for my right kidney and a stent for the left kidney. It has been a year now with the above kidney function aides, and every time I get a specific blood test for my kidney function, my creatin level has been close to or within normal range.
  My particular reasons for kidney failure or weakness has been - advanced prostate cancer that metastasized into the area of at least the right kidney. However, the thought here is that the nefrostomy tube has worked - and while dialysis was considered by a medical team last year, they thought "let's try this first"!
  This might be an option for your Dad!!!!
  While a nefrostomy tube is something of an annoyance, it is not painful. Its maintenance is that of being changed every three to four months ideally - and that's as a day patient by a Radiologist - a simple procedure not usually requiring an anesthetic. And the nefrostomy bag needs to be changed every 4 to 8-weeks - and it's a 10-minute change easily done by the patient including adjustments. And finally, there is a special dressing for a nesfrostomy tube that needs to be changed weekly - one option for that is thru a hospital ambulatory service - about a 15-minute change including vitals taken and not including travel time.
  If a nefrostomy tube would be an option for him - it would be a minimal interference of the quality of life. It certainly seems much less so than dialysis to me.
  I wish you and your Father well. 

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/2/2013 2:41 PM (GMT -7)   
questforanswers said...
I am back again with questions about my dad.
His creatinine level is now at 14. I didn't think that they could get that high, so how high can they get??
Dad has got pretty good urea, potassium results so far but his GFR is sitting on 4. Does the urea and potassium levels determine how high his levels can go?

Hi..I am not sure of the whole situation with your dad but I admire the fight you have inside of you. It is very important to be strong where he is weak and knowledge is the best way! I will make this short and simple. I would immediately order a suppression test and a ACTH test if you have not already. There are underlined conditions that many physicians don't even bother with. This could be a thyroid issue and most def a hormonal issue! The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys..connected to the adrenal gland. If his creatine levels and cortisol levels are off it could be many things..and the test will pin point that!! Please urge his Dr to go with deeper test as far as the thyroids are concerned..such as t-4.t-3 and reverse t-3

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2014
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 8/26/2014 6:11 AM (GMT -7)   
I am in the same position as you and your father. Please let me know how he doing now, and if you can, his serum levels.

Apparently there exists no certain answer to your question, a very good one, since some people are already sent to dialysis at creatinine 5 or even 4, and so there isn't much of a sample to study. I have heard of Creatinine 16, all this now on the American scale. Further complicating the issue is that many people on or nearing dialysis are very old or have additional problems and diseases (comorbidity).

What they are measuring, as far as I can understand it, is a harmless substance (creatinine), the byproduct of decaying proteins (creatine). Normally this substance is filtered by the kidneys (placed where after filtering, I am not sure...). When it is not, as evidenced by high concentrations in the urine, this signifies only that the kidneys are not filtering THAT. If urine is still being produced water is being processed by the kidneys even if not filtering properly. How much creatinine in the blood is, I think, compared by formula/ratio to how much is eliminated in the urine to produce the GFR.

At the risk of repeating more of what I barely and you probably already know, I will wait to say more. MY main concern is know your father's condition here in late August, because after also refusing I have been convinced to go ahead with it (family, friends, "not so bad,", etc.), but now a having second thoughts. Tell him I am Creatinine 9, PKD, they wanted to put a catheter 4 weeks ago but I refused, opting instead for the fistula which has been in since last Friday.

I am 49, grandfather 5 times, self-employed, just cut my grass 2 weeks ago, 1 acre hand mower.
Symptoms that sent me to Dr. (for me, when I walk into a hospital it is like walking into Hell, seriously) was a ten-day headache in the back of my head and neck area, spastic-type cramps in my legs, and all kinds of problems with eating and stomach that have nothing or little to do with WHAT I eat. I have had proteinuria since my teens. One minute I feel pretty good. Maybe an hour from now, or not, I might feel like I am dying. Not like bad, like dying. Then, maybe next day, I feel pretty good again. It sucks, and dialysis is supposed to fix that imbalance. For what it's worth, I think it's a lot like the feeling of a hangover that never ends, and that you get no matter what you eat or drink. Probably due to all the junk in the blood they DO NOT measure, i.e., that doesn't show up on a CBC.

I admire your concern for your father and it is the reason I joined this board.

Post Edited (angroid) : 8/28/2014 8:09:15 AM (GMT-6)

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4959
   Posted 8/26/2014 11:00 PM (GMT -7)   

Welcome to Healing Well. Unfortunately the OP hasn't been back on the forum for over 1.5 years.

Take care,
Moderator: GERD/Heartburn, Kidney disease

Nissen 6/06 and 5/09
#3 8/24/11

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2014
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 8/28/2014 8:10 AM (GMT -7)   
OK Bill, and thanks.

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2015
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 6/10/2015 3:52 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Angroid, All,

My mom's Serum Cr has been raising rapidly in the last 3 months. It was 2.6 mg/dl this Feb (2015) and then it came up to 6.8mg/dl and then to 8.09 and 8.10 and now its at 10.54 mg/dl. While her potassium has been constantly coming down from 5.5 to 5.4 to 5.3 to 5.04 and now at 5.32. She is active and does not have problem keeping food down. She had problems with reducing hb levels but she is taking the erythropoitein injection and her hb levels are 11.1 now. Her electrolytes are not bad either.

We are not sure why her serum Cr has been raising this rapidly while other values are not bad. The nephrologist has asked us to get the AV Fistula created. I am really worried that the serum Cr is going up. I have read a lot of articles which states that in CKD, the Cr does not increase this rapidly. Also given that her condition is quite stable (other lab values), we are very unsure if dialysis is the next step.

My questions are
1. is it possible that Serum Cr values increase this much in a matter of months?
2. Can serum Cr increase rapidly even when other lab values are not bad / manageable levels?
3. Can the erythropoitein injections cause elevated Cr levels?
4. Is dialysis painful? She lives in India.

My mom was initially diagnosed as a CKD patient in mid 2012 when she had Angiogram (no blocks found though). He Serum Cr has gone up and down (usually around high 2's and 3's) and sometimes in 5's but it was never this high. She had an ICD pacemaker put in for her left bundle branch block (electrical conduction in heart) last December. She has Cr in the range of 2.5 for 2 month after this but it started to rise afterwards. She has had high blood pressure for years though. She is also diabetic but the values are under control with insulin. She is taking BP medications too.

Any information on this would be really helpful.

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2015
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 6/12/2015 9:20 PM (GMT -7)   
New member here, I was browsing through the web and came across this site.

I hope some of this information may help others with questions or knowing someone whose has had kidney failure.

Almost 2 months ago my father became very ill and was rushed to the hospital. He spent 1 week in ICU and another week in a regular room. They performed emergency dialysis on him after being admitted into ICU. I still don't know a lot of the numbers from when he was admitted but, these are the things I do know and am learning along the way. All we knew was my dad was very very ill.

The first week in ICU both the kidney doctor and the urologist believed my dad's condition would not improve and said because of his age he was not a candidate for a kidney transplant (age is 73) They also told us they did not believe that his kidneys would improve and I believe they said were only functioning at 5%. While in ICU the kidney dr said he did not want to do a biopsy this close into the kidney failure. His potassium and acid levels in his blood were very high. Again sorry I do not know the starting levels for many things. Anyways, once they down graded him to a regular room he at that point only had the emergency dialysis.

When we were in the emergency room they had put a catheter into him and his urine was like a chocolate brown. He has a nasty infection that had spread thru his body and to his brain. I just wanted to give information to how severe his condition was at this point.

Anyways, once he was in a regular room, the kidney doctor all of a sudden wanted to do a biopsy. We are like why? You said there was no need to go in and do it now? Again the urologist and kidney Dr's both did not believe my dad's kidneys would start to function again.

They put a dialysis pump into his chest area and did 2 further treatments while in a regular hospital room. Since then we have taken him 3 times a week for dialysis and his treatment is for 4 hours each time.

Since all this has started this is so far the information I have learned. When he went into the hospital his creatinine levels were at a 10.7 and over the course of these weeks his levels have been coming down. At one point when I spoke to a nurse she said that when dad comes off the machine he is at a 3. But, that does not count. She wanted to see him at a 4 on his own. Well today after the blood work came back he is at a 4.05. So, next week he will being going in with his urine to have it tested to see how the kidneys are functioning. He self catharsizes himself 2 times a day and we have increased that to 3 times a day. He does at times goes without the help of a cath. If the tests come back good thru the urine next week they will stop the dialysis and he will have to have his blood checked I believe 3 times during the following week to see what his levels are at.

Even though dialysis is so hard on the body as they keep taking the fluid weight off your body it has helped my dad so much. He has lost 20 pounds in 2 months but, if his kidneys do come back fully and able to function on their own then this journey of dialysis has helped him recover.

My dad has had high blood pressure and borderline diabetic. He controlled both with pills leading up to all of this. They do believe his high blood pressure pill is the cause to the kidney failure. His blood pressure has been that of a teenager and they put him on insulin. But since have been keeping him on a renal diet and controlling what he eats he has only had 2 injections of insulin since may 26th. They also changed his blood pressure medication.

I have lab results so if any are needed from about a month back to current please let me know if anyone needs them to compare to. I would be happy to post them as needed over the weeks I have documents of.

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2015
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 6/26/2015 10:10 AM (GMT -7)   
Could anyone help me with an alternative for my uncle who requires angioplasty desperately but cannot do one because of high creatine and potassium level in blood as it would end up him on dialysis:(

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2015
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 7/26/2015 8:30 PM (GMT -7)   
To Zoe2015 and all: thank you for sharing your experiences as ithey are very helpful with needed information and insight. My grandpa is 83, currently in the hospital with creatinine at 4.0. GFR 14.4. Very worried, the doc wants to start dialysis already. But after reading many posts here of people refusing dialysis at higher creatinine levels, what can this do? I'm wondering if there are other options to consider before agreeing, or if we would ultimately be risking his life if we do not start it. He has no pain or discomfort, should we avoid dialysis?! What medications or treatments should we try first? Thank you in advance!

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2015
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 11/25/2015 2:37 PM (GMT -7)   
ZOE2015 ... you mention a bad infection when you talked about the chocolate looking urine. what type of infection was it ... do you know?
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