What Is a Peritoneal Dialysis Machine?
How does a peritoneal dialysis machine work?
Each exchange is a 3-step process: your peritoneal cavity is filled with dialysate solution, it "dwells" there for the time needed to clean your blood and remove excess fluid and then the solution is drained out. Your cycler repeats this process until you’ve completed the number of exchanges prescribed by your nephrologist, which may be 3 to 5 cycles.
Here’s a basic overview of a cycler’s parts and functions:
- The control panel is where you communicate with the machine. It lets you start, stop and pause your dialysis treatment as needed. The control panel provides step-by-step instructions to guide you through the entire treatment process.
- The solution supply is all the bags of dialysate that you’ll need for 1 session. Your care team will decide how much you need and exactly which strength of solution you should use.
- The heater tray is where your dialysate is warmed to the right temperature to go into your body. The scale tells the cycler how much fluid is going in so it’s sure to drain the right amount. It also prevents the machine from pumping when there’s no fluid left.
- The heater bag is filled from your solution supply. The cycler pumps dialysate into the heater bag and keeps it there until it’s warmed to the right temperature and you’re ready for your next fill, though it may feel a little cool to you.
- The pump and tubes connect to the machine, the solution bags, your catheter and a drain line. The machine will open and close the tubes and pump the right fluids in the right direction for each exchange. The tubes are long so that you’ll be able to move around or get up and go to the bathroom while you’re connected.
- The used dialysate solution drains from your body through your catheter and into a drain line. The drain line either connects to a drain bag to be discarded.
What does peritoneal dialysis solution do?
What is peritoneal dialysis solution made of?
Peritoneal dialysis solution is made of water and electrolytes. The electrolytes are mostly salts and sugar that are naturally found in your body. Your nephrologist will prescribe a dialysate solution with the precise amount of each electrolyte to match your body’s needs. If you have diabetes, your doctor will adjust your medications, if needed, to allow for the extra sugar going into your body from the solution.
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What is dwell time in peritoneal dialysis?
Your dwell time is determined by your nephrologist, based on the number of exchanges you are doing each day and by the condition of your peritoneal membrane. Shortening your dwell time by even 5 minutes can make dialysis less effective.