Before you can begin PD, you will need to have a minor surgery to have a soft, flexible tube called a catheter put into your abdomen (belly area) or chest. The end of the catheter will stick out of your abdomen or chest, through a small incision (cut) in your skin. You will use the catheter to do your exchanges.

You will also need to make sure that you have clean, dry space in your home, workplace or anywhere you intend to do your treatments, as well as space where you can keep your PD supplies.

Getting a catheter

The catheter that is used for PD is a flexible tube that goes from inside your abdomen or chest to outside your body, through a small incision (cut) in your skin. You will use your catheter to fill your abdomen with dialysate and drain used dialysate from your abdomen.

Depending on how your doctor wants to put your catheter in, you may have your surgery under general anesthesia or with a local anesthetic only. General anesthesia is a medicine that makes you go to sleep and not feel any pain. Local anesthesia is a medicine that keeps you from feeling pain in the area where the surgery is happening, but allows you to stay awake.

Your catheter will be ready for use as soon as your surgery is over, but catheters usually work best after your body heals around it to hold it in place. This usually takes 2 to 3 weeks. If you need to use your catheter before it has finished healing, you will need to be very gentle with it, because it may not yet be held strongly in place.

Talk to your doctor about your lifestyle and the activities you enjoy. Having this information will help your doctor figure out whether a catheter in your chest or in your abdomen would be best for you.

Preparing your home

You will need a space in your home that is kept clean and dry, where you can do you your PD treatments. If you are doing CCPD , this room will likely be your bedroom. You will need to keep pets and plants out of the room. If you are doing CAPD , you can choose any room in your home, workplace or other location where you spend your time. Any room you choose must be free of pets and plants and must be kept clean and dry. If you do your PD exchanges at work, your social worker may be able to help you work with your employer to accommodate your treatment needs.

You will also need a place in your home where you can store your treatment supplies. This storage space should be clean, dry and easy for you to get to. Supplies are usually delivered to your home once a month. Each delivery might include many large, heavy boxes. Keep this in mind as you are choosing and preparing your storage space. Talk to your dialysis nurse or technician to learn more about what to expect when supplies are delivered.