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Peritoneal Dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis is different from haemodialysis as it cleans your blood while it is in your abdomen instead of it being taken out of your body and through an artificial kidney. One main difference is that this type of dialysis is more often done at home.

Before starting Peritoneal Dialysis

In peritoneal dialysis you need to have a catheter, a type of long thin tube placed into your abdomen. Your abdominal cavity is lined with a membrane called the peritoneum, which the peritoneal dialysis catheter is placed into. This will happen while you are under a general anaesthetic and may happen a few weeks before you start peritoneal dialysis. Part of the catheter stays outside the body and it is important that this is kept clean to prevent infection. This usually sits in your stomach.

A peritoneal dialysis session 

In peritoneal dialysis a type of fluid called dialysate is put through the catheter into this cavity. This may happen overnight or several times a day. This fluid remains in the abdominal cavity for a period of time. The salt, waste products and excess water that build up in your body due to your kidneys not working effectively are drawn towards the dialysate as it has a high sugar, or dextrose, content. These pass through the peritoneum towards to the dialysate solution and are removed when this is drained. You might hear this process being referred to as an exchange. As each persons peritoneum works differently you may need to have blood tests and analysis of the dialysis fluid to identify how much waste is being removed and how quickly it is working. As with other types of dialysis, monitoring blood pressure, weight and temperature is important. As a young person you may do this yourself or have a parent/carer or other person who can help with this. Your healthcare team will talk to you in more detail about peritoneal dialysis and can answer any questions you have.