When kidneys can’t function properly, the Peritoneal Dialysis method is used to remove the waste products from the blood. This is different from the hemodialysis procedure. The fluid that needs to be cleansed is let flow through a tube (catheter) into the abdomen. The waste products from the blood are filtered by the blood vessels in the stomach‘s abdominal lining called the peritoneum with the help of dialysate fluid that is passed through a catheter and is periodically discarded out of the abdomen. This can be carried out at home.
Peritoneal Dialysis uses the peritoneum, a thin lining of the abdomen as a filter. A dialysate fluid is cycled into the patient‘s abdomen through a small, flexible tube called a PD catheter. The dialysate liquid collects all the waste from blood vessels from the abdominal lining and pushes it into the peritoneal cavity. The wastes stay in the cavity for a specified time and, a PD machine is used to drain out the fluid from the peritoneal cavity into a waste bag. Thus excess wastes and fluids are removed from the body. Now, blood is cleaned once more with fresh dialysate fluid which is sent into the peritoneum. This loading and draining process is called the Peritoneal Dialysis cycle.
Forms of Peritoneal Dialysis
Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD):
The patient can carry out this procedure themselves. They have to fill the tube with the dialysate solution and later drain out the fluid. The fluid moves in and out of the abdomen due to gravity.
Every cycle involves loading the abdomen with dialysate fluid, pushing it into the abdominal cavity, and draining the fluid that absorbs the extra wastes. The patient may need 3 to 4 cycles of exchange during the day and one with a longer duration during the night. It can be carried out in any clean and hygienic place like home or office. Patients can carry out their chores regularly during CAPD procedures.
Continuous Cycling Peritoneal Dialysis (CCPD):
This is an automated procedure. A machine called an ‘automated cycler’ performs 3 to 4 cycles at night while a patient is sleeping. The machine automatically loads the dialysate fluid into the abdomen, allows it to absorb the wastes, and drains it out into a sterile bag that can be disposed of in the morning. This gives patients relief from morning dialysis and helps them carry out chores more efficiently in the morning. However, the patient has to use the machine for 10 to 12 hours at night.
Depending on their daily routine and health condition, patients can choose their peritoneal dialysis form. Patients can also customize it by combining both forms of peritoneal dialysis.