Home Peritoneal Dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis is the easiest and simplest form of home dialysis and has excellent outcomes. It is considered to be an “at home or on-the-go” dialysis option and is ideal for patients who want to remain independent while undergoing dialysis.

Peritoneal dialysis uses your body’s own internal lining of the abdomen, called the peritoneal membrane, as a filter to cleanse your blood and remove excess fluids. The peritoneal membrane is used instead of an artificial dialyzer, or filter, and a large dialysis machine.

A small catheter placed in the abdomen (the peritoneum) is used to instill and drain sterile dialysis fluid (dialysate). Approximately two liters of sterile dialysis fluid is used to fill the abdominal cavity. The solution dwells for several hours to absorb toxins and excess fluid. The fluid is then drained and discarded, and replaced with new dialysis fluid.

Advantages of peritoneal dialysis

  • It’s simple to do
  • Daily dialysis is more like your normal kidney function
  • It allows for more independence and flexibility because you control your treatment times
  • It is easier for those who travel or work
  • It requires usually only one clinic visit a month instead of 3 times weekly with in-center hemodialysis
  • It offers better blood pressure control
  • It prolongs remaining kidney function
  • An automated peritoneal dialysis (APD) device is small and portable

Precautions

Peritoneal dialysis requires a commitment to taking charge of your own health. You will have to learn the proper procedure to set up your peritoneal dialysis fluid exchanges.

You also will need to learn how to take your own blood pressure and care for your catheter and exit site. The potential for infections has dramatically decreased over the past 20 years because of step-by-step infection control techniques and improved catheter connections.

Because we are diligent in training our patients, Washington University’s team has a lower infection rate than the national average.

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