Nephrologist holding clipboard

PD may not be right if you

  • Swim Often or Take Tub Baths. Due to the risk of infection, your care team may want you to avoid tub baths or swimming in lakes or ponds. Some people put an ostomy bag over the catheter to keep it clean and dry for a rare swim. With a presternal catheter, you can take baths, because you can keep the catheter out of the water.
  • Prefer to Have Days Off of Dialysis. PD must be done each day. (Please note that having 2 days off in a row, as with standard in-center hemodialysis, is linked with a much higher risk of death.)
  • Would Like to Keep Dialysis Out of Your Home. Since this is a home treatment, you would need to have a machine and supplies there.
  • Spend Time with Others on Dialysis. You’ll go to the clinic once a month for a visit with your care team but may not see others who use PD. You can find them online, though.
  • Look Slim. Having fluid—and a catheter—in your belly can affect how you look and how you feel about your body. Dialysate has sugar (dextrose) in it, which can cause some weight gain.
  • Are Planning on Having a Baby. It can be tricky to get pregnant on PD, due to the fluid in your belly. And, as a fetus grows, it takes up room that you need to get enough dialysis.
  • Plan to Live as Long as Possible. PD survival is a bit better than that of standard in-center hemodialysis (HD). But, doing longer and/or more frequent HD—or getting a transplant—gives you the best chance at a long life.

Are you suited for PD?

If you have had major abdominal surgeries*, you may not be able to do PD. If you are a large person, it may be hard to get enough dialysis with PD. Have a hernia? It must be fixed before you start PD. Sometimes PD can cause a hernia. If so, there is a way for you to keep doing PD while it is fixed. Apart from those health issues, the most vital factor in whether you can do PD is how much you want to do it.

*Having a baby by C-section, a kidney transplant, or a hernia fixed does not count as “major.”