Peritoneal dialysis is a type of dialysis which uses the peritoneum in a person's abdomen as the membrane through which fluid and dissolved substances are exchanged with the blood. It is used to remove excess fluid, correct electrolyte problems, and remove toxins in those with kidney failure. Peritoneal dialysis has better outcomes than haemodialysis during the first couple of years. Other benefits include greater flexibility and better tolerability in those with significant heart disease.
Complications may include infections with the abdomen, hernias, high blood sugar, bleeding in the abdomen, and blockage of the catheter. Use is not possible in those with significant prior abdominal surgery or inflammatory bowel disease. It requires some degree of technical skill to be done properly. In peritoneal dialysis, a specific solution is introduced through a permanent tube in the lower abdomen and then removed. This may either occur at regular intervals throughout the day, known as continuous ambulatory dialysis, or at night with the assistance of a machine, known as automated peritoneal dialysis. The solution is typically made of sodium chloride, hydrogen carbonate, and an osmotic agent such as glucose.