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Peritoneal Dialysis Catheter Care: Care Instructions

Peritoneal dialysis.


Dialysis does the work of your kidneys when you have kidney failure. It filters wastes and removes extra fluid. It also keeps the right balance of chemicals in your blood. Peritoneal dialysis uses the lining of your belly to filter your blood.

Before you start dialysis, your doctor creates a dialysis access. This is the place where the dialysis solution can flow into and out of your body. To make the access, the doctor places a soft tube in your belly or chest. This tube is called a catheter. When you do dialysis, the solution flows into your belly and stays there for several hours. Then you remove it through the catheter.

It is important to take care of the catheter and the access area to prevent infection.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Care of the catheter and access

  • After the doctor creates your access, keep the bandage dry and clean. Change a dirty or bloody bandage.
  • Keep your access area clean and dry. Check it every day for signs of infection.
  • Always clean and dry your catheter and access area right away after you get wet.
  • Always wash your hands before you touch the catheter.
  • Fasten or tape the catheter to your body to keep it from catching on your clothes.
  • Never use scissors or other sharp objects around your catheter.
  • Do not use unapproved clamps on your catheter.
  • Store your dialysis supplies in a cool, dry place.

Activity when you have an access

  • Do not lift heavy objects.
  • Do not swim or take a bath unless your doctor tells you it is okay.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the access area.
    • Pus draining from the access area.
    • A fever.
  • You have belly pain.
  • You have nausea or vomiting.
  • The dialysis fluid looks cloudy or is a different colour.
  • Fluid does not flow through the catheter.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.