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Peritoneal Dialysis

As awareness increases about home treatment options for dialysis, questions on Peritoneal Dialysis arise more frequently, leaving patients to wonder if it is a viable consideration. Hopefully the questions and information below will help you to decide.

What is Peritoneal Dialysis (PD)?

How does Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) work?

What are the benefits to doing PD?

Peritoneal Dialysis, or PD as it is commonly known, uses the inside lining of your abdominal cavity as a natural filter. Wastes are taken out using a cleansing fluid called dialysate, which is washed in and out of your stomach in cycles.

A soft plastic tube (catheter) is placed into your stomach surgically. A sterile cleansing fluid is inserted into your stomach through this catheter. After the filtering process is finished, the fluid leaves your body through the catheter.

There are two types of peritoneal dialysis, Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) and Automated Peritoneal Dialysis (APD). The basic treatments are the same for each. However, the number of treatments and the way the treatments are done differs.

CAPD is “continuous,” machine-free and done while you go about your normal activities such as work or school. You do the treatment by placing about two quarts of dialysate into your stomach and later draining it. When an exchange (putting in and taking out the fluid) is finished, the fluid (which now has wastes removed from your blood) is drained from your stomach and thrown away. This process usually is done three, four or five times in a 24-hour period while you are awake during normal activities. Each exchange takes about 30 to 40 minutes. Some patients like to do their exchanges at mealtimes and at bedtime.

APD differs from CAPD in that a machine (cycler) delivers and then drains the cleansing fluid for you. The treatment usually is done at night while you sleep.

With PD, you can control extra fluid more easily since dialysis is more continuous. This may reduce stress on the heart and blood vessels. For patients who have anxiety over the use of needles PD may be a viable treatment alternative. You are able to eat more and use fewer medications. You can do more of your daily activities and it is easier to work or travel.