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Peritoneal Dialysis Catheter Placement: What to Expect at Home

Location of dialysis catheter outside the body and inside peritoneum.

Your Recovery

Peritoneal dialysis catheter placement is a surgery to place a soft tube (catheter) in an area of your belly (peritoneum) for dialysis. Dialysis does the work of your kidneys when they fail.

Your doctor made a small cut (incision) in your belly. Then your doctor placed a catheter through the cut and into your belly. The cut was closed with stitches. The end of the catheter exits out of your belly.

In 10 to 14 days you'll start dialysis. Dialysis fluid will flow into your belly through the catheter. It stays there for several hours. Then it flows out of your belly through the catheter.

Keep the bandage around the catheter dry, and don't take it off. Be careful not to bump or move the catheter.

You may have some pain for a few days. You may also feel tired and sick to your stomach. Be sure to rest and drink plenty of fluids.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Activity

  • Do not lift heavy objects.
  • Limit physical activity. Ask your doctor when it's okay to do your normal activities.
  • Do not swim until your doctor says it's okay.

Diet

  • Avoid constipation and straining. Drink plenty of water. Your doctor may suggest fibre, a stool softener, or a mild laxative.

Medicines

  • If you take aspirin or some other blood thinner, ask your doctor if and when to start taking it again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.

Incision care

  • You will have a dressing over the cut (incision). A dressing helps the incision heal and protects it. Do not change or care for the dressing. Dressing changes will be done by your care team until the cut heals.
  • Keep the dressing clean and dry.
  • Try not to bump or move the catheter until the cut heals.

Hygiene

  • Use a face cloth to clean your body. Be careful to not get the bandage wet.
  • Ask your doctor when it's okay to shower or take a bath.

Catheter care after the incision heals

  • Always wash your hands before and after you touch the catheter.
  • Clean your catheter site daily with antibacterial soap. Wear gloves. Pat dry with a clean towel.
  • Apply antibacterial ointment to clean the skin around the catheter. Your care team will tell you what ointment to use and how to apply it. Replace with a clean dressing.
  • Always clean and dry your catheter and access area right away after you get wet.
  • 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.
  • Store your dialysis supplies in a cool, dry place.

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 call line 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.

When should you call for help?

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

  • You have symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness around the cut.
    • Red streaks leading from the cut.
    • Pus draining from the cut.
    • A fever.
  • You have belly pain.
  • You have nausea or vomiting.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • The dialysis fluid looks cloudy or is a different colour.
  • Fluid does not flow through the catheter.
  • The dialysis equipment isn't working.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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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.