Peritoneal Dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis is a treatment that removes waste, chemicals and excess water from the body. Peritoneal dialysis uses the lining of the peritoneal membrane in your abdomen, which functions as an artificial kidney to perform filtration and waste removal. A solution made of water, sugar and minerals is instilled into your peritoneal membrane and filters waste by the process of osmosis and diffusion. The solution containing waste is then drained and exchanged for fresh fluid.

What to Expect

To prepare for peritoneal dialysis, your doctor will surgically place a permanent catheter through the wall of your abdomen for access. The catheter is typically placed about an inch below and to the side of your navel. About two to four inches of catheter tubing will extend outside the body at all times and must stay in place to continuously perform your daily solution exchanges.


The treatment process for peritoneal dialysis typically takes an average of thirty minutes and solution exchanges are performed four times each day. Peritoneal dialysis offers greater independence and flexibility in comparison to in-center treatments as it can be done in a clean area of your home, work, school or while traveling.


Peritoneal dialysis may require specific diet modifications in order to maintain your body’s optimum health. Although there are general diet adjustments associated with peritoneal dialysis, your Mount Baker Kidney Center health care team of nurses and dietitians will address your specific dietary needs.

  • You may need to cut back on calorie consumption; the dialysis solution contains
  • calories and may lead to weight gain
  • Reduce salt and liquids; although more is allowed in comparison to in-center hemodialysis
  • You will need to eat a diet high in protein
  • Potassium intake will often need to be monitored

Possible Complications

The most common complication associated with peritoneal dialysis is infection in the abdomen and/or the area surrounding the catheter. Peritoneal dialysis requires a permanent catheter access and it is imperative that you follow the guidelines given by your health care team for proper care of your catheter.

  • Perform peritoneal dialysis exchanges in a designated clean area
  • Avoid twisting or turning your catheter; it should be kept in place
  • Avoid hot tubs and baths; swimming is allowed
  • Change bandages as directed by your health care team
  • Take medications as prescribed