Kidney Failure

Peritoneal dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis uses the lining of the abdominal cavity as the dialysis filter to rid the body of waste and to balance electrolyte levels. A catheter is placed in the abdominal cavity through the abdominal wall by a surgeon, and it is expected to remain in place for the long-term. The dialysis solution is then dripped in through the catheter and left in the abdominal cavity for a few hours and then is drained out. In that time, waste products leech from the blood flowing through the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum), and attach themselves to the fluid that has been instilled by the catheters. Often, patients instill the dialysate fluid before bedtime, and drain it in the morning.

There are benefits and complications for each type of dialysis. Not every patient can choose which type he or she would prefer. The treatment decision depends on the patient's illness and their past medical history along with other issues. Usually, the nephrologist (kidney specialist) will have a long discussion with the patient and family to decide what will be the best option available.

Dialysis is life-saving. Without it, patients whose kidneys no longer function would die relatively quickly due to electrolyte abnormalities and the buildup of toxins in the blood stream. Patients may live many years with dialysis but other underlying and associated illnesses often are the cause of death. Continue Reading

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Reviewed on 1/23/2015
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