How PD Works
Peritoneal dialysis (PD) uses the inner lining of your belly (peritoneum) as a filter to clean your blood. A surgeon will place a soft, plastic tube (PD catheter) through the wall of your belly or chest (presternal catheter). The tube is about the size of a drinking straw. Once it heals, a nurse will teach you steps to use the tube to fill your belly with sterile fluid.
Most people use a cycler for PD—a machine that will fill your belly with the fluid and empty it out. Cycler PD is most often done at night while you sleep, so your days are free. If you can do the PD steps yourself and lift the fluid bags, you don’t need a partner for PD.
Once you put sterile PD fluid (dialysate) into your belly, it stays there, or dwells, for a few hours. While you go about your day, the fluid will collect wastes and water. Then you drain out the used fluid and put in fresh fluid. Draining and then filling is called an exchange.