There are two options you have 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 directly 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.
Patient care team
Patients electing either type of peritoneal dialysis will be fully trained by our experienced peritoneal dialysis team. During training, one of our nurses will come to your home for training and will make sure you are comfortable with all of the procedures and to ensure your supplies are properly stored.
To better monitor your overall medical condition and to regularly check the catheter site itself, you must come in for monthly clinic visits. A nurse is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions or concerns.
Patient education and resources
For patients who are interested in learning more about peritoneal dialysis, we offer a comprehensive patient education program called “Peritoneal Dialysis-What You Need To Know.” This comprehensive program allows individuals to see how the exchanges are performed.
Patients on peritoneal dialysis also offer their perspective on maintaining lifestyles while undergoing treatment for renal failure. These half-day programs are offered monthly and are the perfect opportunity for you to learn more and ask questions.
Call 314-286-0830 to participate in our next peritoneal dialysis program.