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What is peritoneal dialysis?

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Quick Answer

Peritoneal dialysis is a method that removes waste products from a patient's blood when the kidneys cannot do it satisfactorily, according to Mayo Clinic. Blood vessels in the abdominal lining do the kidneys' job with the help of dialysate fluid.

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Full Answer

A catheter is used to fill the abdomen with dialysis solution. The solution is drained, and the waste products from the blood are removed and thrown away. The draining process takes approximately 30 to 40 minutes, and the dialysis solution stays in the abdomen for about four to six hours, states the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Treatments may be done by the patient at home, at work or while traveling, adds Mayo Clinic.

Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis allows the patient to walk around with the dialysis solution in the abdomen, as this type of peritoneal dialysis does not require a machine. Continuous cycler-assisted peritoneal dialysis is usually used while the patient is sleeping, since a machine is used to fill and drain the abdomen. The most common problem for patients who are on peritoneal dialysis is infection, adds the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Inspecting each bag of dialysis solution for contamination, wearing a surgical mask, and maintaining proper hygiene when filling or draining is recommended for prevention of infection.

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