Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis

The information here is given as a guide only and patients are advised to seek further information from their doctor.

An Introduction to CAPD

CAPD takes place inside the body using the natural lining of the abdomen called the Peritoneum. The Peritoneum acts as the dialysis membrane. In order to do your dialysis by CAPD you will need to have a small operation (which takes place under a local or general anesthetics) to insert a Catheter into your abdomen.

CAPD is done at home, usually 4 times every day. It takes less than 30 minutes each time and is a very simple, painless procedure. Because dialysis is carried out at home patients must be able and willing to take the major responsibility for their own care. All the equipment you need is delivered to your home including the dialysis bags which are delivered in boxes. You will therefore need of storage space to stack them. A dry garage or similar outbuilding is ideal or alternatively you could use part of a spare room in your house.

If you have limited space it's best to discuss this with your CAPD nurse. The following diagram shows all the important parts needed for CAPD dialysis. When you do your CAPD you will firstly need to drain off the Waste Products into the lower Bag. You then drain in the fresh Dialysis Solution from the top bag and into the Peritoneal Cavity. This is called an "Exchange" - fresh fluid replacing old. The Dialysis Solution, which is called Dialysate, is left in your body for about 5 hours and during that time it does the work your kidney used to do. After 5 hours you simply repeat the process. You can adjust the times you do your dialysis to suit your own daily routine. You needn't feel you are tied to a clock.

You will receive expert training from your CAPD nurse which will give you all the expertise and confidence you need to be happily independant. Of course you will always have the support and advice of the your doctor when needed. In between doing your CAPD you can lead a normal active, working life.