Treatment Options

There are two options when considering peritoneal dialysis:

Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD)

CAPD is a manual form of dialysis and can be done in any clean location at home, work, school or even on vacation. You will connect a bag of dialysis fluid (dialysate) to your catheter and hang the bag on an IV pole so that gravity helps the fluid flow down through the catheter and into your abdomen.

The solution remains inside your abdomen for several hours so the waste and excess fluid in your blood can pass through your peritoneal membrane and into the dialysate fluid. You then drain the fluid out of your abdomen and exchange the bag of old dialysate fluid with a fresh bag. Your doctor will tell you how many exchanges you need to perform each day, as well as the amount and type of dialysis fluid to use each time.

Typically, you will need to complete four fluid exchanges daily. Draining and adding dialysate takes about 30 minutes each time. Your used dialysate solution is measured and then emptied and the bag is disposed of in the trash. Bags are never re-used.

It is easy to work around your schedule to perform the exchanges. For example, you could do an exchange when you wake up in the morning, again at lunch and dinner, and then shortly before bedtime. You will work directly with your renal care team to determine the best times.

Automated Peritoneal Dialysis (APD)

APD uses a machine called a cycler to automate the peritoneal dialysis process. The device can be programmed for the number of fluid exchanges prescribed by your doctor. It automatically drains the used dialysis solution and fills your abdominal cavity with new solution. The device is portable and easy to use and is an excellent choice for those who travel. With APD, the fluid exchanges are typically performed at night while you sleep.

You will learn how to use the machine and properly connect all of your dialysis fluid bags. Training for APD takes an additional 2-3 days beyond the week of peritoneal dialysis instruction.


Unlike in-center hemodialysis, where your supplies are ready and waiting when you arrive, you will need to learn how to order and organize your dialysis supplies. It is an easy process.

A dialysis equipment and supply company delivers everything you need direct to your home. You will work with your renal care team to decide the best location for proper storage of your supplies.

Knowledgeable delivery staff will also help you stack and rotate your supply stock on a regular basis.

Care of Your Catheter

Your catheter is your lifeline. You will need to learn how to clean your catheter daily. We will also teach you the signs and symptoms of any potential problems that might arise, including infections.