Peritoneal Dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis is a process in which fluid (dialysate) filters and cleans your blood. This fluid is put into your belly (abdomen). Before dialysis can happen however, an opening must be made in your belly (access). A thin tube (catheter) will be put through the wall of your belly.

There are 2 types of peritoneal dialysis methods, which include:

  • Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD). You put fluid in your belly and cover the special tube. Several hours later, you will reconnect to a tubing set up, drain the fluid, and put more fluid in. This is done several times a day. No machine is needed.

  • Continuous cycler-assisted peritoneal dialysis (CCPD). A machine is used to put a cleaning fluid (dialysate) in your belly. The machine will also drain the fluid. This is done several times during the night (for most people).


  • Know how to perform your method of dialysis.

  • Know how many times you need to perform dialysis.

  • Know when to perform dialysis.

  • Keep your fluid bags and other supplies in a cool, clean, and dry place.

  • Keep your catheter and its cap free of germs (sterile).

  • Keep the adapter germ free. The adapter attaches the fluid bag and tubing to the catheter.

  • Clean the area of your body around the catheter every day.

  • Wash your hands.

  • Wear a mask as told by your doctor.

  • Close doors, windows, and shut off fans as told by your doctor.

  • Check your fluid bag.

  • Make sure it is the right size.

  • Make sure your mixture is right. It may vary at different times of day.

  • Check the expiration date on the bag.

  • The fluid should be clear, not cloudy.

  • Squeeze the bag to check for leaks.

  • Use a dry heating pad to warm the fluid solution in the bag. Leave the cover on the bag while you do this.

  • Do not put the bag under warm or hot water. Germs could get in the bag.



  • Attach the bag and tubing to your catheter. Hang the bag below your belly once the clamps are opened. This can take 10 minutes.

  • Remove the bag and tubing from the catheter. Cap the catheter.

  • The solution stays in the belly for 3 to 4 hours (dwell time).

  • When it is time to drain the fluid, take the cap off the catheter. Attach the catheter to the tubing that is attached to an empty bag. Put this bag below the belly. Undo the clamps. Fluid will then go into the bag. This can take 20 minutees.

  • Start the process again. Keep doing this until all of the solution is gone.


  • Put the bags onto the cycler machine. Put on the exact number of bags as told by your caregiver.

  • Connect the catheter to the machine. Turn the machine on.

  • Overnight, the machine will go through the dialysis process several times (exchanges).

  • Disconnect from the machine in the morning. Cap your catheter.

  • Fluid that is in your belly in the morning will stay there during the day.


  • Follow your dialysis schedule as told by your doctor. You must stick to the schedule. Do not skip a day.

  • Talk with a counselor or social worker in addition to your doctor. They can help you manage your daily routine to fit in the dialysis sessions.

  • Eat as told by your doctor. Ask what you should and should not eat.

  • Weigh yourself every day and keep track of what your weight is.

  • You may be taught how to check your blood pressure before every dialysis session. Your blood pressure reading will help determine what type of solution to use. If your blood pressure is too high, you may need a stronger solution.


  • You have any problems with a dialysis session.

  • The area around the catheter becomes red or painful.

  • The catheter seems loose, or it feels like it is coming out.

  • A bag of fluid looks cloudy, or the fluid is an unusual color.

  • You have belly pain or discomfort.

  • You feel sick to your stomach (nauseous) or throw up (vomit).

  • You develop a fever of more than 102° F (38.9° C).


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch this condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.