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 used.
The process of doing peritoneal dialysis is called an exchange. You will usually complete 4 to 6 exchanges each day using the following steps:
- Fill: Dialysis fluid enters your peritoneal cavity.
- 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:
- 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 peritoneal dialysis.
- 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.