A condition in which the kidneys lose the ability to remove waste and balance fluids. Kidney failure, also called end-stage renal disease (ESRD), is the last stage of chronic kidney disease. Kidney failure occurs when your kidneys lose the ability to sufficiently filter waste from your blood. Acute kidney failure — also called acute renal failure or acute kidney injury — develops rapidly, usually in less than a few days. Kidney (Renal) failure (acute or chronic) occurs when the kidneys no longer function well and the end stage of kidney failure. Kidney (renal) failure is when kidneys don't work as well as they should.