At-Home Peritoneal Dialysis

A growing number of doctors and people with chronic kidney disease agree that at-home dialysis—whether it’s peritoneal or hemodialysis—is the best option whenever possible. Why choose at home?

  1. At-home dialysis improves your quality of life. You can lead a more normal work and social life.
  2. At-home dialysis improves outcomes. With longer or more frequent treatments, people who choose at-home dialysis usually have fewer food restrictions and take fewer medicines. Not only are they healthier overall—they live longer.


Whether you’re getting ready for dialysis or want to switch to a different type of dialysis, our Treatment Decision Guide can help you decide what treatment options might be best for you.
Download the guide

Peritoneal Dialysis (PD): 2 Types, Your Choice

There are two types of peritoneal dialysis (PD): continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) and continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis (CCPD). Both types of PD have slightly different advantages, so it really comes down to your personal preference and schedule along with your nephrologist’s recommendation.

Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD)

You do this continuously, without a machine, 4 to 5 times each day almost anywhere—at home, at work, on vacation—even in a car. That’s why it’s called “ambulatory”. You’re not attached to a machine of any kind. You’re able to be on the move—wherever, whenever.
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Plan for at home dialysis


Every airline flying from the US must let you bring your medicines, syringes and dialysate on board. However, they limit this to a 1- to 2-day supply of fluids. Any more will require shipping.

Tip: All medicines and dialysate must be in their original packaging and clearly marked.


Access your treatment data, lab results and flowsheets from your computer, tablet or smart phone.

What’s involved with CAPD

  • You place about 2 quarts of cleansing fluid into your abdomen and, later, drain it. This is done by connecting a plastic bag of the fluid, called dialysate, to the soft tube (catheter) in your abdomen.
  • By raising the plastic bag to shoulder level, gravity pulls the fluid into your abdomen. This is called “filling.” When empty, the plastic bag is removed and thrown away.
  • The cleansing fluid (dialysate) stays inside your abdomen for several hours. This is called “dwelling”. During this time, the waste products and extra fluid move out of your blood through the peritoneum membrane and into the dialysate. 
  • When it’s finished, the dialysate is drained from your abdomen through the catheter into a plastic bag, which can be secured and thrown away. 
  • The process of these 3 steps—filling, dwelling and draining—is called “an exchange”.
  • The actual time for filling or draining takes about 30 minutes. It’s done during your regular daily activities. Because you do an exchange 3, 4 or 5 times in a 24-hour period, some people like to do their exchanges around mealtimes and at bedtime.

Luggage for at home dialysis


By law, your cycler is considered an essential medical device. You cannot be charged a fee for checking your cycler as baggage.
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Continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis (CCPD)

CCPD basically works the same way as CAPD. However, instead of doing manual exchanges several times a day while you’re awake, CCPD uses a machine called a cycler. The cycler does the work for you while you sleep. Your cycler is programed to do all of your exchanges in one 8-to-10-hour period. You do CCPD every night.

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Mastering both CAPD and CCPD

You will learn to do manual CAPD exchanges first, which will make your CCPD training easier. And, if for any reason your cycler is not working—or in case of a power failure—you will be able to manage your treatments by knowing how to do CAPD.

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Talk it over

When considering your treatment options for dialysis, it’s important to be as informed as possible. Also, share the decision making with your doctor and immediate loved ones. Be honest about any concerns and bring up questions. Talking it through can help you make the best decision.


Your doctor will prescribe a cycler for you. They are compact, portable and fit easily on your bedside table.