First Time User? Sign Up Now
First Time User? Enroll now.
Home > Fitness & Health > Health Library > Peritoneal Dialysis
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 in-center 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:
There are different types of peritoneal dialysis. Discuss these treatment methods with your doctor to decide which one might work best for you.
Choosing between treatment with hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis is based on your lifestyle, other medical conditions, and body size and shape. Talk to your doctor about which type would be best for you.
Mild back pain or abdominal fullness may sometimes occur during peritoneal dialysis.
Peritoneal dialysis replaces the work of the kidneys after complications of kidney failure develop.
Peritoneal dialysis provides approximately 10% of normal kidney function. It does not reverse chronic kidney disease or kidney failure.
The most common complications from peritoneal dialysis include infection around the catheter site or infection of the lining of the abdominal wall (peritonitis). Less commonly, there may be problems related to the catheter. But most complications can be managed or prevented.
Peritoneal dialysis is not recommended when any of the following conditions are present:
Current as of:
August 12, 2019
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal MedicineE. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineTushar J. Vachharajani MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology
Current as of: August 12, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Tushar J. Vachharajani MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2020 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.