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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
in-center 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
There are different types of peritoneal dialysis. Discuss these
treatment methods with your doctor to decide which one might work best for you.
Mild back pain or abdominal fullness may
sometimes occur during peritoneal dialysis.
Peritoneal dialysis replaces the work
of the kidneys after complications of
kidney failure develop.
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 (peritonitis).
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:
Peritoneal dialysis is a good
treatment option for people who have kidney failure. Advantages include:
Peritoneal dialysis does not cost as much as
of life is also thought to be improved when less time is spent in dialysis
Complete the special treatment information form (PDF)special treatment information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this treatment.
Other Works Consulted
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.
Current as of:
August 29, 2013
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Tushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology
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