Peritoneal dialysis uses a membrane
inside your body (
peritoneal membrane) as a filter to clear wastes and
extra fluid from your body and to return electrolyte levels to normal. Unlike
hemodialysis, you do not need to travel to a dialysis
center for your treatment. Instead, after being trained at a dialysis center,
you will do your treatment at home on your own schedule. Peritoneal dialysis
can often be done at night, while you are sleeping.
You will need to have a
catheter placed in your belly (
dialysis access) before you begin
dialysis. Placement is usually done 10 to 14 days before dialysis starts. Some
peritoneal dialysis catheters may be used immediately (acute-use catheters).
But because of a high risk of complications, these catheters are not commonly
The process of doing peritoneal dialysis is called an
exchange. You will usually complete 4 to 6 exchanges each day using the
Dwell: While the fluid
is in your peritoneal cavity, extra fluid and waste travel across the
peritoneal membrane into the dialysis fluid.
Drain: After a few
hours, the dialysis fluid is drained and replaced with new fluid.
There are different types of peritoneal dialysis. Discuss these
treatment methods with your doctor to decide which one might work best for you.
Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD). During CAPD, the dialysate solution stays in
your belly for about 4 to 6 hours. After this time, the solution is drained out
of your belly. Your belly is then refilled with fresh solution. You need to
change the solution about 4 times a day. This is the most commonly used form of
Continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis (CCPD). During CCPD, a machine automatically fills and drains
the dialysate from your belly. This process takes about 10 to 12 hours, so you
can do CCPD at night while you sleep.
Choosing between treatment with
hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis is based on your
lifestyle, other medical conditions, and body size and shape. Talk to your
doctor about which type would be best for you.
What To Expect After Treatment
Mild back pain or abdominal fullness may
sometimes occur during peritoneal dialysis.
Why It Is Done
Peritoneal dialysis replaces the work
of the kidneys after complications of
kidney failure develop.
How Well It Works
Peritoneal dialysis provides
approximately 10% of normal kidney function. It does not reverse chronic kidney
disease or kidney failure.
The most common complications from peritoneal
dialysis include infection around the catheter site or infection of the lining
of the abdominal wall (
Less commonly, there may be problems related to the catheter. But most
complications can be managed or prevented.
Peritoneal dialysis is
not recommended when any of the following conditions are present:
Correa-Rotter R, et al. (2012). Peritoneal dialysis. In MW Taal et al., eds., Brenner and Rector's The Kidney, 9th ed., vol. 2, pp. 2347–2377. Philadelphia: Saunders.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerTushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology
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