Types of Peritoneal Dialysis


Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is a type of dialysis that allows you to choose a format and schedule that fits your lifestyle. All types of PD use the lining of your abdomen, called the peritoneum, to filter your blood when the kidneys are no longer able to do this job effectively. (Check out our previous post for more information on how peritoneal dialysis works.)

The two main PD types for home dialysis treatments are continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) and continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis (CCPD), also called automated peritoneal dialysis. The main difference between these two types is the schedule of exchanges and level of automation. 

Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD)

CAPD treatments are done by hand, without the use of a dialysis machine. This allows you freedom of movement during treatment so you can go about your day. Many CAPD patients are able to read, work from home, watch tv, and more during treatment.

How often is CAPD performed?

CAPD treatments are typically done three to five times a day. The dialysis solution, called dialysate, will sit in your abdomen for about four to six hours. At the end of each dwell period, you’ll drain the solution, which takes between 30 and 40 minutes.

How does CAPD work?

This flexible dialysis treatment can be performed in any well-lit, clean environment — at home or on the go.

  • You’ll start by putting roughly two quarts of dialysate in your abdomen using a PD catheter.
  • The solution bag will hang from a [???], which allows gravity to draw the dialysate into your abdomen. The bag is thrown away once emptied.
  • During the dwell time, the solution is in your abdomen filtering waste products from your blood through the peritoneum.
  • After the dwell time, the solution is drained into a separate bag using the catheter.

Continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis (CCPD)

CCPD, or automated peritoneal dialysis, is done with a machine.

How often is CCPD performed?

Automated PD allows you to choose a treatment schedule that works for you. Some kidney patients prefer to do a longer session at night, while sleeping. Others prefer shorter, more frequent sessions during the day. You might also do a combination of these methods. Your dialysis care team will work with you to create a treatment schedule that fits your needs. Your nephrologist will typically prescribe three to five exchanges.

How does CCPD work?

  • You’ll start by making sure the cycling machine is set up and ready to go. The control panel of the machine will guide you through every step of the process.
  • You’ll connect to the dialysis machine with your PD catheter.
  • The machine’s heater tray will warm the dialysate before pumping it into your abdomen. Its scale monitors how much solution is entering the body so it knows to stop when the bag is empty.
  • The machine opens and closes all the tubes to direct fluids to the correct place for every exchange. These tubes are quite long – you’ll have plenty of length to change positions in bed or get up to use the bathroom.

You will receive extensive PD training until you feel comfortable and confident performing dialysis treatments.

Contact your kidney care team to learn more about PD.


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