Home > 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
The process of doing peritoneal dialysis is called an
exchange. You will usually complete 4 to 6 exchanges each day using the
There are different types of peritoneal dialysis. Discuss these
treatment methods with your doctor to decide which one might work 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:
Peritoneal dialysis is a good
treatment option for people who have kidney failure. Advantages include:
Complete the special treatment information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this treatment.
Other Works Consulted
Correa-Rotter R, et al. (2012). Peritoneal dialysis. In MW Taal et al., eds., Brenner and Rector's The Kidney, 9th ed., vol. 2, pp. 2347–2377. Philadelphia: Saunders.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerTushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology
Current as ofFebruary 4, 2015
Current as of:
February 4, 2015
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Tushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 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.
I Want To...
Join Our Social Network