Peritoneal dialysis procedure uses a membrane within our body (peritoneal membrane) as a filter to clear wastes and extra fluid from your body. Unlike hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis brings along a few risks and complications.
[Read: How to Prepare for Peritoneal Dialysis]
Complications of Peritoneal Dialysis
- Peritonitis – The common complication from peritoneal dialysis is the infection around the catheter site or infection of the lining of the abdominal wall. The infection has a tendency of becoming a serious medical concern and is accompanied by symptoms such as unusual stomach aches, fever and may cause loudy dialysate.
- Catheter-related complications – 10—4 days before you begin dialysis, a catheter is placed in your belly (dialysis access). There are acute-use catheters that can be used immediately, although these catheters are not commonly used owing to the high risk of complications. The catheter-related complications include tunnel leak, infection of the exit site / tunnel, catheter migration, broken catheter, subcutaneous catheter kink and difficulty with drainage of dialysate.
[Read: What are the Advantages of Peritoneal Dialysis]
- Hernia – Hernia may develop at the site of incision for catheter insertion, at the inguinal canal and at the umbilicus. The primary reason of hernia in peritoneal dialysis patients is continuous presence of fluid within blood vessels. The risk of hernia increases due to the occurrence of a leak postoperatively, previous hernia repair, multiparity and obesity.
- Sudden weight gain – There may be a sudden increase fat due to too much fluid in the body, which sometimes make patient gain weight. Weight gain can also be gradual, and is often accompanied by swelling and shortness of breath. This is why doctors ask patients to weigh themselves at about the same time every day.
- Increase in blood pressure and pulse rate– Those who are undergoing peritoneal dialysis or have in the past may experience frequent increase in blood pressure and fluctuations in pulse owing to excess fluid in the body and weight gain. Therefore, it is advisable to check blood pressure and pulse on a regular basis.
Peritoneal dialysis is not done if:
- there are leaks in the lining of the abdominal wall,
- scarring of the lining of the abdominal wall (peritoneal membrane),
- one has active inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis).
Most of the peritoneal dialysis complications can be managed and prevented with fluid restrictions, dietary modifications, abstaining from use of needle sticks, reduced dependence on blood pressure medicine and management of conditions such as anaemia.
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