Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) is a type of dialysis that has been available for many years. It is a wonderful alternative for those patients who would like to do their dialysis at home.Some PD methods use a machine, while some do not. Whether or not a machine is used, there are three major components to peritoneal dialysis.
The Peritoneal Membrane
In hemodialysis, the hemodialysis machine takes blood out of your body and the dialysis process takes place using a synthetic device known as a dialyzer. With peritoneal dialysis, the dialysis process itself takes place inside the abdomen. The vital organs located inside each person’s abdomen are covered by a membrane or clear film called the peritoneum. The peritoneum has microscopic pores and lies next to many large blood vessels. Impurities are filtered from the blood vessels through the pores in the peritoneum and into your abdominal cavity.
Dialysate, a chemical solution much like the normal chemical make-up of your blood, is released into your abdomen. This solution is used to pull poisons, excess amounts of chemicals and water through the tiny pores of the peritoneum and into the open spaces of your abdomen. This process has two parts, diffusion and osmosis. The filtration of poisons and chemicals is known as diffusion. The removal of excess water is known as osmosis. The amount of glucose (sugar) in the dialysate solution regulates the amount of water that is removed from your blood.
As with hemodialysis, PD requires an access to get the solution into your abdomen. This is done by means of a soft, flexible plastic tube, known as a catheter. The catheter is inserted into your abdomen by your physician. The catheter is kept in place by a stitch just under the skin. After a period of time, your body heals around the catheter and scar tissue holds it in place. There are several different styles of catheters. You and your physician will decide which is right for you.