Health information : What is peritoneal dialysis ?

Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is a treatment for people with kidney failure. Kidney failure is the terminal stage of chronic kidney disease (or CKD). Healthy kidneys remove unnecessary wastes from blood and extra fluid from the body. But when your kidneys stop working adequately, wastes and extra fluid builds up in your blood and make you unwell.


How does peritoneal dialysis work ?
A soft latex, polyurethane, or silicone tube, called a catheter, is placed in your stomach. This can be done by a minor surgery. This catheter makes it feasible for you to easily connect special tubing which allows for two to three quarts of a cleansing fluid to pour into your belly. The cleansing fluid is known as dialysate. Dialysate will take around ten minutes to fill your abdomen. When the filling is completed, the catheter is capped so that it does not leak. The inner lining of your abdomen (the peritoneal membrane) acts as a natural membrane filter, by filtering out all the wastes and extra fluid in your blood into the cleansing fluid (dialysate). At the same time, the abdominal lining holds back the vital things your body needs, such as the red blood cells and nutrients. To perform its action, the dialysate must remain in your abdomen for two hours or more, based on your body size and how much waste has to be eliminated. This time is known as the dwell time. After your dwell time, you have to drain the cleansing fluid from your body into an unfilled bag and then discard the bag. You do the in-and- out process a variable number of times during the day, with fresh dialysate. Peritoneal dialysis can be done at home, at work, or even while traveling.


How will I learn how to do peritoneal dialysis ?
The training personnel at your dialysis center will teach you all that you need to know, including how to do fluid exchanges, order the necessary supplies, clean your catheter, and help guard yourself against infection. Once you and the staff are satisfied with your ability to do peritoneal dialysis alone, you can start administering your own treatments at home.


Are there different types of peritoneal dialysis ?
Yes. The chief ones are as follows.

  1. Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD): In this procedure, you do the fluid exchanges yourself three to four times a day.
  2. Continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis (CCPD): In this procedure, a machine known as a cycler does the exchanges routinely while you sleep. You may also need to do an exchange during the day if your kidney function becomes less.

Disclaimer: The content provided here is meant for general informational purposes only and hence SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, care or evaluation by a qualified doctor/physician or other relevantly qualified healthcare provider.