A PD catheter is placed in the abdomen in an operation and is used to access the peritoneal membrane to allow for dialysis.
A special solution (dialysate, or dialysis solution) is placed in the abdomen through the PD dialysis catheter and is in contact with the peritoneal membrane. Waste in the blood and bodily fluids then pass through the peritoneal membrane (the filter) into the solution.
Waste products and extra water in the blood are pulled into the solution by means of diffusion and osmosis. The used dialysis solution is then drained out through the PD catheter into a collection bag. This process is then repeated with fresh dialysis solution.
The small particles of waste float out of the blood, through the tiny holes in the peritoneum, and into the dialysis solution. The waste particles float from the blood side where it is more crowded to the solution side that is less crowded.
The dialysis solutions that are used help your body remove extra fluid, help with nutrition, replace some of the lost protein, and balance the blood acid levels. The dialysis prescription (number of exchanges and peritoneal dialysis fluid) is determined by your doctor.
Peritoneal dialysis is done at home so that you have more flexibility to arrange your daily activities and schedule. You can even perform PD at work, in an RV or in a hotel. This may give you more time to enjoy your favourite things, like travelling, school, work, hobbies, sports, visiting with friends and a full family life. Peritoneal dialysis is performed on your own or with the support of your family member or caregiver. Your healthcare team will train you and/or your family member on dialysis steps until you are comfortable with how to do it at home.