Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis

CAPD is a peritoneal dialysis modality which is carried out by the patient on a daily basis, with 3-5 exchanges each day. This can be done at home or at work, putting some normality into daily life.

How CAPD works

Approximately 2 litres of dialysis fluid is infused into the abdomen through a special tube called a PD catheter. This process is called ’infusion’. The cleaning process uses the membrane in your abdomen as a natural filter. Waste products and excess water are removed from your body into the dialysis fluid through the peritoneal membrane. This process is called ’dwell time’. After 4-12 hours, this fluid is drained from your abdomen in a process named ‘drainage’, which takes about 20-30 minutes. After that, new sterile fluid is instilled into your abdomen and the process starts all over again. This process of draining out the old fluid and instilling new fluid is called an ‘exchange’ and is done mainly by gravity. Except for the time spent during these exchanges — on average 30-40 minutes, 3-5 times a day — the rest of the day you are free to do whatever you want (e.g. work, study or even travel). CAPD

Supplies for CAPD

All the dialysis fluid, lines and other supplies will be delivered to your home periodically. Your prescription will inform you how often and when you should use the different dialysis fluids.

Glucose – the driving force for water removal

To extract the adequate amount of water from your body, you need to have the right strength of the dialysis fluid. The dialysis fluid most commonly consists of a glucose solution which pulls water out of your body into the peritoneal membrane. This process is called ‘ultrafiltration’.


To be able to perform your exchanges yourself, you need to be trained on how to properly connect and disconnect. You will be taught how to perform the exchange procedure and how to identify and cope with any potential problems. The training usually takes a week, and usually takes place in the dialysis clinic or hospital where you will perform the first sessions.