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What are some facts about peritoneal dialysis?

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Peritoneal dialysis is a procedure in which fluid runs through the peritoneal membrane and filters out waste and excess fluid from the body to return electrolytes to normal levels, notes WebMD. The procedure is used to aid patients with impaired kidney function, who can do their treatments at home after receiving training at dialysis centers.

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Full Answer

Doctors place catheters in patients between 10 and 14 days before they begin peritoneal dialysis, to serve as access points for the fluid exchanges that occur during the procedure, states WebMD. During the most common form of the treatment, continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis, the patient initiates the entry of dialysis fluid into the peritoneal cavity. The fluid travels across the peritoneal membrane along with waste, and the patient drains it and replaces it with new fluid. Patients must exchange the fluid four times a days when using this form of dialysis, or can choose to use continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis, in which a machine automatically fills and drains the fluid.

Peritoneal dialysis provides about 10 percent of kidney function, but it does not reverse the effects of kidney diseases or failure, notes WebMD. Infection around the catheter site or infection of the lining of the abdominal wall are the most common risks associated with peritoneal dialysis, and doctors do not recommend the treatment for people with scarring or leaks in the abdominal wall, or those with conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease.

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