Peritoneal Dialysis And Its Types

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During peritoneal dialysis, the blood is cleaned inside the body. Surgery is performed for sewing a plastic tube -a catheter- into the abdominal cavity for dialysis access. During the session, the abdomen, through a catheter, is gradually filled with dial sate. Blood enters the blood vessels, which covers the abdominal cavity. Excess fluid and decomposition products diffuse into the dialysis solution. There are several types of peritoneal dialysis, and I will talk about the two main ones.

Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis – The only type of peritoneal dialysis, which is carried out without the aid of machines. It is performed alone, usually four or five times a day, at home and/or at work. Tank content with dial sate, about 2 liters, is poured into the abdominal cavity through the catheter. The dial sate stays there for 4 – 5 hours and then it is discharged. This process is called metabolism. After each such exchange a new capacity is put to the dial sate. At that time, while the dial sate is in the peritoneal cavity, patients can continue their daily lives at work, at school or at home.

Permanent cyclic peritoneal dialysis – Usually this is done at home or at hospital using a special device, a circulator. This type of peritoneal dialysis is similar to continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis, with the only difference being that the change of cycles (exchanges) will happen automatically. Each cycle typically takes 1 – 1.5 hours per night, during sleep, the exchange occurs repeatedly.

Dialysis partly compensates for kidney function, but it can not cure the disease of the kidneys. Dialysis is applied throughout the rest of life of the patient, until a kidney transplant is performed.

The patient may feel some discomfort when a fistula or stint needle is inserted, though in general, most patients do not. By itself, the dialysis procedure is painless. However, some patients may experience a drop in blood pressure.