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Dialysis, Acute Peritoneal

What is Acute Peritoneal Dialysis?

Acute peritoneal dialysis can help the kidneys function better if they are not working well after a child has had a procedure or illness. It is used only until the kidneys heal and can work well on their own.

In acute peritoneal dialysis, a soft plastic tube, called a catheter, is inserted into a small empty space in the belly. A special fluid flows through the tube and into the belly. The fluid is left in place for a period of time and then is drained. This fluid draws all the extra water and waste products normally flushed out of the body by the kidney. This process is repeated until the kidneys start working again.

There is no pain with this process, although your child may feel bloated while the special fluid is in the belly.

Acute peritoneal dialysis may correct problems including:

  • Too much water in the blood
  • Too many waste products in the blood
  • Improper levels of salts in the blood
  • Blood pressure problems

Your child may experience the following while on acute peritoneal dialysis:

  • Infection in the belly where the tube was inserted
  • Low blood pressure
  • Fast heartbeat

What to Expect

Your child will usually be in the intensive care unit during this treatment.  The dialysis treatments may last for several hours or days.

Your child will have a dressing on the area where the tube comes out.

Once the doctor decides that your child’s kidneys are working well enough, treatment is stopped and the tube is removed.

Special Instructions

  • Help prevent infection by always washing your hands before entering your child’s room and before you leave. Check to make sure everyone does the same—don’t be afraid to remind anyone who comes into your child’s room to wash their hands.
  • Your child will need to rest quietly during this treatment. You may want to have books, videos and quiet activities available for your child. A Child Life specialist can also help with quiet activities for your child.

Last Updated 04/2024

Reviewed By Elizabeth Rompies, MSN, APRN, CNP

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Learn more about the comprehensive therapy options available in the Center for Acute Care Nephrology.