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What does the patient do during peritoneal dialysis?
Peritoneal dialysis requires the patient to play a more active role in their dialysis treatment. Of primary importance is the patient’s responsibility for maintaining a clean surface on the abdomen and catheter, where treatment is administered, in order to prevent infection.
In this process, the patient weighs herself/himself to determine the fluid to be used. The patient then puts on a mask and cleans the peritoneal catheter site. Fluid that has been allowed to stay in the peritoneal cavity is drained back into the plastic bag that originally contained the fluid. The patient then disconnects this bag and connects a new bag of solution that is allowed to drain into the peritoneal cavity. Once the fluid is in the body, the new bag is rolled up and placed in the patient’s underwear until the next treatment. This procedure usually takes 30 minutes to accomplish and must be done four to five times a day.
As an alternative to this treatment, some patients on peritoneal dialysis use a machine called a “cycler.” This cycler is used every night. Five to six bags of dialysis fluid is used on the cycler and the machine automatically changes the fluid while the patient sleeps