How does peritoneal dialysis solution work?

The peritoneal dialysis (PD) solution works by pulling wastes and extra fluids out of the blood of a person whose kidneys do not work. The solution is introduced into the person's abdomen through a catheter. It contains dextrose (or another sugar), salt and minerals dissolved in water. The particular concentration of chemicals in the peritoneal solution is what makes the wastes and fluids migrate into it from the blood. After a while, the solution is removed from the abdomen, taking the wastes and extra fluids along with it. This process of filling the abdomen with PD solution and then removing it is called an exchange.

Certain factors determine how much waste and fluid are removed:
  • the person's size
  • the amount of solution used (peritoneal dialysis solution is packaged in different amounts, and the dose is limited by each person's abdominal capacity)
  • the daily exchange rate, which is how long the abdomen takes to fill and remove wastes
  • the dwell time, which is how long the solution remains in the abdomen

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