How To Perform Peritoneal Dialysis at Home

Medical equipment use

When a person’s kidney disease has progressed enough that the kidney is no longer able to function, a dialysis becomes necessary in order to prolong the life of the patient. Dialysis can be done in a hospital or dialysis center, termed hemodialysis, or at home, also called peritoneal dialysis.

Today the practice of peritoneal dialysis comes in two types. The first one is the Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal dialysis or CAPD, and the Continuous Cycling Peritoneal Dialysis or CCPD. Both can be done at home, though CCPD makes use of a machine during dialysis.

Not everyone who has chronic kidney disease can opt to have peritoneal dialysis. It is still important that you consult your doctor or a nephrology expert so he/she can refer the perfect treatment for you. You may be assigned different types of treatment depending on the progression of your kidney disease.

In addition, prior to undergoing peritoneal dialysis, you should have proper training. You can check with your local dialysis center if they have their own renal care group to help you in this endeavor. In addition to peer support, you also have access to information on how to administer your peritoneal dialysis properly and how to care for your exit wound. It is important that patients not only know how to take care of their exit wound, but also how to administer the proper dialysate solution.

Once you have been approved by your doctor to do your dialysis at home, you have to undergo a minor surgery where a catheter is inserted into your lower abdomen. This is where the dialysis fluid or dialysate solution passes to get to your abdominal cavity. After the exit wound has healed and the patient can already function normally, peritoneal dialysis can be started.

When the patient’s method of treatment is CAPD, it is important that he/she is relaxed. A bag with dialysate solution and a plastic tubing is attached to the visible part of the catheter in the lower abdomen. The bag should is raised above the patient’s shoulder to allow the solution to flow into his abdomen. A tube clamp connected to the plastic tubing is then released to start the process. The solution is left in the abdomen for a few hours to allow the toxins and water in the blood to be absorbed by the fluid. At the end of the procedure, a collecting bag is placed below the patient’s abdomen to drain the fluid. The process of draining the solution and replacing it with a new one is carried out in about 30 minutes, and this needs to be repeated 3 to 4 times a day.

The CCPD method of treatment is a little different from CAPD, though it can also be done without any help. The dialysis treatment is administered by a machine, also called a cycler. At night, the cycler tubing is attached to the visible part of the catheter. It circulates the dialysate solution in and out of the abdominal cavities at regular intervals throughout the night. During the morning, the cycler tubing is removed and patients carry the dialysate solution in their abdomens for a whole day. The cycler tubing is reattached at night to drain the fluid, and the fluid exchange is repeated.

Though the procedures may seem easy, it is important for patients to undergo training before doing peritoneal dialysis. The normal duration of training is around two weeks. This will ensure that no bacterial complications or other negative consequences happen.


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