Peritoneal Dialysis

Can I have help with PD?

Most people find PD easier to learn than they expected, and soon become confident performing their exchanges independently. However, if you are physically unable to perform the whole procedure yourself, or need extra support while learning, you may be able to receive assistance. Having assisted APD means you must be able to connect your catheter to the PD machine yourself, but preparing the machine and disposing of used equipment is done by a healthcare assistant who visits you at home every day.

How long does it take?

CAPD takes about 20-30 minutes to drain the fluid out and in. You need to do this four times every day. You also need time for setting up before dialysis and for clearing away afterwards. APD takes about 30 minutes to set up the machine before you go to bed. You will also need about 30 minutes the next day to clean the machine and tidy up. You will be attached to the machine for about eight hours every night. Learning how to do PD takes as long as you need. This is usually about five days. It can be done:

  • at the hospital
  • in your own home
  • at a training centre.
  • Does PD hurt?

It might seem uncomfortable at first as you get used to having fluid in your peritoneal cavity. The fluid is warmed to body temperature so you should not feel it going into your body.

Is the APD machine noisy?

You might be aware of a quiet hum when it is working. The alarm on the machine will go off if you are lying on your catheter, stopping the fluid from draining out. The machine can be stopped temporarily for visits to the bathroom or sex.

Can I go swimming?

Yes, swimming is a good form of exercise. However, we advise that you swim in a chlorinated pool as the sea and rivers can be contaminated, which means there is a risk of you getting an infection. We can give you a special pouch to put over the catheter to prevent it from getting wet.

Can I have a bath?

To reduce the risk of infection, we advise you to shower rather than bath once you start PD. If you do not have a shower, you can use a shower attachment on your bath taps.

How do I keep my catheter from pulling?

A loose hanging catheter can be uncomfortable, unhygienic and potentially be pulled causing injury or damage to the catheter. There are a number of solutions available depending on your individual circumstances, but the one used by most patients at St George's is the catheter belt. See the picture below - click for links to the manufacturers website - they will ship to the UK.

Other manufacturers can be found by using an internet search engine and typing "PD catheter belts".

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