Peritoneal Dialysis

What is peritoneal dialysis?

Peritoneal dialysis is a treatment option for individuals with kidney failure. It is a type of dialysis that uses the lining of the abdominal cavity to filter the blood, rather than using an external dialysis machine. The lining of the abdomen contains a large number of tiny blood vessels, which allows for the removal of waste and excess fluid from the body.


Who's at risk for peritoneal dialysis?

Patients who have end-stage renal disease (ESRD), or irreversible kidney failure, may be candidates for peritoneal dialysis.


How is peritoneal dialysis used?

Peritoneal dialysis is used to treat kidney failure that occurs as a result of various medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and polycystic kidney disease.


How does peritoneal dialysis start?

Before starting peritoneal dialysis, patients undergo a surgical procedure to place a catheter into the abdomen. This catheter is used to introduce the dialysis fluid into the peritoneal cavity.


What are the symptoms of peritoneal dialysis?

Symptoms of peritoneal dialysis include fever, redness, and tenderness in the area where the catheter was placed, abdominal pain, and constipation.


How is peritoneal dialysis diagnosed?

Peritoneal dialysis is typically recommended by a nephrologist or kidney specialist. A variety of tests, including blood and urine tests, may be performed to determine if a patient is a good candidate for peritoneal dialysis.


How can peritoneal dialysis be treated?

The treatment of peritoneal dialysis involves a patient performing dialysis exchanges at home or in a dialysis center. A dialysis machine called a cycler can be used to automate the process. A sterile solution of electrolytes, sugar, and minerals is introduced into the peritoneal cavity, where it remains for a set amount of time before being drained and replaced with fresh solution.


What complications may occur with peritoneal dialysis?

Complications associated with peritoneal dialysis include infection, hernias, bleeding, blockages with the catheter or leaks from the catheter site.


How can I prevent the need for peritoneal dialysis?

Preventing kidney disease is the best way to avoid needing peritoneal dialysis. Patients with chronic conditions that can lead to kidney disease should work closely with their healthcare providers to manage their conditions and reduce their risk of developing kidney failure.


Long-term management of peritoneal dialysis

Patients on peritoneal dialysis require ongoing monitoring by a nephrologist to ensure that the treatment is working effectively and to address any complications that may arise.  Also, you should give attention to: 

  • Regular monitoring of kidney function
  • Proper maintenance and care of the catheter
  • Follow a healthy diet and manage fluid intake
  • Regular exercise


What is recent research saying about peritoneal dialysis?

Recent research has focused on ways to improve the effectiveness of peritoneal dialysis and reduce the risk of complications. Some studies have explored the use of new dialysis solutions and catheter designs, while others have looked at the impact of lifestyle factors such as exercise and diet on dialysis outcomes.


Where can I go for more information on peritoneal dialysis?

Patients with kidney disease who are interested in learning more about peritoneal dialysis should speak with their healthcare provider or contact organizations such as the National Kidney Foundation or the American Kidney Fund.