Peritoneal dialysis


Dialysis is a procedure to remove waste products and excess fluid from the blood when the kidneys stop working properly. Normally, the kidneys filter the blood, removing harmful waste products and excess fluid as urine. When when the kidneys are not functioning adequately, the waste products and water accumulate in the body. If chosen, dialysis can be used to help.

There are two main types of dialysis: haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis (PD). Peritoneal dialysis uses the inside lining of your abdomen (the peritoneum) as the filter, rather than a machine (haemodialysis). Like the kidneys, the peritoneum contains thousands of tiny blood vessels, making it a very useful filtering device.

More on what we do

Before peritoneal dialysis can start, you need to have a special tube called a Tenchkoff catheter inserted into your abdomen. This is done under a general anaesthetic and two incisions are made. One is under your belly button, the other is near your hip. This allows the tube to be tunnelled under the skin and into the peritoneal cavity. It can then exit the body on either your right or left hand side. This tube then stays there permanently, unless removal is required.

With the support of the PD education team, you and your family members are taught to drain fluid in and out of your peritoneal cavity at certain times of day (usually breakfast, lunch teatime and before going to bed). Exchanging the fluid usually takes about 30 to 40 minutes. It is also possible to have this treatment performed by a machine overnight whilst you sleep, if that would suit you better.

Peritoneal dialysis can be done quite easily at home, but it needs to be done every day. You can also (with planning) travel both in the United Kingdom or abroad on PD. It’s this independence and freedom which makes this therapy option appealing to certain patients.

Our community renal specialist nurses are here to help. They build up a partnership with each patient to help them with their treatment. This has enabled the RD&E's renal unit to establish a significant PD programme, where patients can stay on a treatment of their choice.


Peritoneal dialysis treatments include:

  • CAPD (Continues Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis) - up to 5 exchanges each day
  • APD (Automated Peritoneal Dialysis) -  overnight PD machine
  • AAPD (Assisted Automated Peritoneal Dialysis). There is limited access to this service, but if certain criteria are met then support is offered from the PD Team at the RDE by our specialist Assistant Practitioners or Healthcare Assistants. They will visit your home each day to support your PD needs.

We offer home training and hospital training, depending on your situation. It can take up to a week for you to get used to carrying out your own treatments. An assistant practitioner or healthcare assistant will be on hand to teach you to do CAPD or APD, depending on your choice.

After you have been on treatment for about four months, we offer a refresher course in your home.

Our team

PD Nurse Specialist, Assistant Practitioners and Health Care Assistants

Where to find us

RD&E Wonford, Barrack Rd, Exeter EX2 5DW

The Kidney Unit, Ground floor, Room S41. 

Contact us

PD Nurse Specialist

Telephone: 01392 402518

Assistant practitioners and healthcare assistants

Telephone: 01392 402518 (voicemail is available)

Office hours

8.30am - 4.30pm, Monday – Friday. This excludes Bank holidays.

In the case of emergencies or out of hours

Please contact Creedy Ward on 01392 402590 / 402591

Patient leaflets and documents

Helpful websites

Community services

We will offer home training for both CAPD and APD, wherever possible.


PD clinics are held by a consultant every three months at the RD&E site.

Nurse specialist clinics are held in each of the clinical nurse specialist areas, usually in a satellite unit. This might include the main renal unit at Exeter, depending on where you live.


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