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What is peritoneal dialysis?

Different from hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis is another kind of way to remove waste products fro the blood when kidneys fail to function properly. It is a blood purification method based on patients' peritoneum in the abdomen which works as a filter during this medical process. Kidney is responsible for cleaning blood, so when kidney failure is caused, toxins which should have been removed by kidney will build up in the blood. This is the reason why peritoneal dialysis is needed when kidneys shut down.

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How is peritoneal dialysis performed?

The performance of peritoneal dialysis is based on patients' peritoneum in the abdomen, so before starting it, a surgery is needed to insert a catheter into the abdomen. Through this catheter, dialysate can be drained to the patients' body. Dialysate is a special solution consisting of electrolytes and dextrose. With dialysate in the body cavity, waste produces will diffuse from the blood and into the peritoneal fluid. Meanwhile, nutritions like dextrose and sugar in the dialysate will be absorbed by patients. Several hours later, when dialysate is full of wastes, it will be drained out of the patients' body and then new and fresh solution is put into the body cavity again.

Since peritoneal dialysis is usually done by patients themselves, so before kidney failure patients start peritoneal dialysis, they need to receive training from peritoneal dialysis team about the procedure involved and how to use the equipment.

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Who is better suited to do peritoneal dialysis?

Both hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis helps to purify blood, but they work differently. Therefore, it is necessary for kidney failure patients to have a good understanding about these two methods and then choose the right one according to their conditions. In general, these patients are better suited for peritoneal dialysis:

1.Elderly kidney failure patients can choose peritoneal dialysis, as this kind of blood purification method causes less influence on cardiovascular function, so as to lower their risk for cardiovascular diseases.

2.It is better for children and infant to do peritoneal dialysis, instead of hemodialysis, when their kidneys shut down, as PD (Peritoneal Dialysis) is more painless compared with HD (Hemodialysis).

3.Kidney failure patients who fail to do a fistula can do peritoneal dialysis to clean blood.

4. Also, peritoneal dialysis is a good choice for kidney failure patients with coagulation disorders and high risk for bleeding.

5. People who need to do work and patients who need to have classes regularly can choose peritoneal dialysis as their major blood purification method.

6. Besides, for these who can not go to dialysis center regularly due to traffic problem peritoneal dialysis can do peritoneal dialysis to sustain their life.

Peritoneal dialysis is a way to cleanse blood and the performance of it is based on peritoneum, so people with repeated abdominal infection, fibrosis of peritoneum, gastroschisis, or serious fire burn are usually not recommended to do peritoneal dialysis.

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What is the diet for peritoneal dialysis?

Similar with patients who are on hemodialysis, kidney failure patients who are on peritoneal dialysis also need to pay extra attention on their diet.

Protein requirement: protein requirements are higher, because some proteins might be lost through peritoneal membrane. To replenish protein and meet the basic demand of body, they need to ingest much more protein. In addition, some proteins they eat should be high quality protein which can be found in fish, lean meat, egg white and milk.

High potassium diet: Foods rich in potassium are usually needed by peritoneal dialysis, because they are likely to keep normal or low potassium levels. Common potassium-rich foods include banana, white beans, dark leafy greens (spinach), baked potatoes, salmon, avocados and white mushroom and so on.

Low-phosphorus diet: Phosphorus intake is limited as phosphorus is not cleared well through peritoneal dialysis, which may lead to the decrease of calcium in the blood and thus cause a series of complications like weak bones, heart problems, joint pain and skin ulcers.

Fluid intake: We all know hemodialysis patients need to strictly limit fluid intake, so as to avoid unnecessary problems. However, as peritoneal dialysis is performed daily, so for patients who are on peritoneal dialysis, there is no need for them to calculate fluid intake.

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