Peritoneal dialysis is performed by surgically placing a special, soft, hollow tube into the lower abdomen near the navel. After the tube is placed, a special solution called dialysate is instilled into the peritoneal cavity. The peritoneal cavity is the space in the abdomen that houses the organs and is lined by two special membrane layers called the peritoneum.
The dialysate is left in the abdomen for a designated period of time which will be determined by the child’s physician. The dialysate fluid absorbs the waste products and toxins through the peritoneum. The fluid is then drained from the abdomen, measured and discarded.
There are three different types of peritoneal dialysis:
Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD): does not require a machine. Exchanges, often referred to as "passes," can be done three to five times a day during waking hours.
Continuous cyclic peritoneal dialysis (CCPD): requires the use of a special dialysis machine that can be used in the home. This type of dialysis is done automatically, even while a child is asleep.
Intermittent peritoneal dialysis (IPD): uses the same type of machine as CCPD, but treatments take longer. IPD can be done at home, but usually is done in the hospital.
Possible complications of peritoneal dialysis include an infection of the peritoneum, or peritonitis, where the catheter enters the body. Peritonitis causes fever and stomach pain.
A child’s diet for peritoneal dialysis will be planned with a dietitian, who can help you choose meals according to the physician's orders. Generally the child may:
- Have different protein, salt and fluid needs
- Have different potassium restrictions
- Need to reduce their calorie intake, since the sugar in the dialysate may cause weight gain