Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is a type of dialysis used to treat kidney failure. Unlike hemodialysis, which requires a machine to filter the blood outside of the body, peritoneal dialysis uses the lining of the abdominal cavity, called the peritoneum, as a filter.

Peritoneal dialysis is an effective treatment option for many patients with kidney failure, but it is not suitable for everyone. In this blog will discuss the basics of peritoneal dialysis, its benefits and drawbacks, and how to prepare for the procedure.

What is Peritoneal Dialysis?

Peritoneal dialysis is a treatment for kidney failure that uses the patient’s own peritoneum to filter waste and excess fluid from the blood. A catheter is placed into the patient’s abdomen, and a special fluid called dialysate is pumped into the peritoneal cavity. The dialysate stays in the abdomen for 4-6 hours, during which time it absorbs waste and excess fluid from the blood. Then, the dialysate is drained out of the abdomen, and the process is repeated.

There are two main types of peritoneal dialysis: continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) and automated peritoneal dialysis (APD). With CAPD, the patient performs the exchanges manually, typically four times per day. With APD, a machine performs the exchanges automatically while the patient sleeps.

Benefits of Peritoneal Dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis offers several benefits over hemodialysis. One of the biggest advantages is that it can be done at home, allowing patients to have more control over their treatment and avoid trips to the hospital. Peritoneal dialysis also tends to be gentler on the heart than hemodialysis, as it does not involve the rapid removal of fluid from the bloodstream. Additionally, peritoneal dialysis may be a better option for patients with heart disease and those with difficult blood vessels where a fistula may not be possible,

Drawbacks of Peritoneal Dialysis

While peritoneal dialysis offers several advantages, there are also some drawbacks to consider. One of the drawbacks is the risk of infection. Because the catheter used for peritoneal dialysis stays in place for an extended period of time, there is a risk of bacteria entering the peritoneal cavity if adequate precautions are not taken causing infection. Additionally, some patients may experience discomfort or pain during the procedure,

Preparing for Peritoneal Dialysis

Before starting peritoneal dialysis, patients must undergo a medical evaluation to determine if they are a good candidate for the procedure. This may involve blood tests, ultrasound, etc. Patients will also need to undergo surgery to have the catheter placed in their abdomen.

Once the catheter is in place, training will be provided to patients and caregivers to learn how to perform the exchanges themselves or with the help of a caregiver. This will involve learning how to clean the catheter and how to attach and drain the dialysate bags.