What is Peritoneal Dialysis?


Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is a treatment for kidney failure. A special sterile fluid is introduced into the abdomen through a permanent tube that is placed in the peritoneal cavity. The fluid circulates through abdomen to draw impurities from surrounding blood vessels in the peritoneum, which is then drained from the body.PD can be carried out at home, at work, or on trips, but requires careful supervision. PD gives patients more control. However, they need to work closely with the health care team including the nephrologist, dialysis nurse, dialysis technician, dietitian and social worker. The role of the PD patient and his/her family are very important. By learning more about the treatment, patients can work with the health care team to achieve the best possible results and lead an active life.

How Does it Work?


A PD catheter is inserted permanently at the abdomen to allow filling and draining of about two litres of PD solution into and out of the peritoneum or abdominal cavity, which is surrounded by the peritoneal membrane. The peritoneal membrane then filters waste and fluids from the blood into the solution.


The PD solution is allowed to remain in the abdomen for four to six hours before it is drained and replaced with fresh PD solution. The replacing of fresh PD solution with the used PD solution is called an exchange. Each exchange takes about 30 minutes. PD patients perform an average of four exchanges per day. Different types of PD have different schedules of daily exchanges.

Types of PD

Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD)

Unlike Haemodialysis, patients do not need a machine for CAPD. They need gravity to fill and empty their abdomen. The doctor will prescribe the number of exchanges a patient needs, typically three or four exchanges during the day and one evening exchange with a long overnight dwell time while one sleeps. As the word “ambulatory” suggests, the patient can walk around with the dialysis solution in the abdomen.


Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis

Automated Peritoneal Dialysis

Automated Peritoneal Dialysis (APD)

An alternative to CAPD is Automated Peritoneal Dialysis (APD) where a machine called a cycler will change the dialysate solution during the night, usually while patients are asleep. This means that patients have to be attached to the machine for 8-10 hours.


Benefits of PD

Painless and No Needling

  • Unlike HD, no vascular access or needling is required for PD, hence PD is a painless procedure.
  • Vascular access-related complications are one of the common causes of hospitalisation in haemodialysis patients.

Home-based Therapy

  • Patients carry out treatment themselves in the comfort of their own homes.
  • No need to travel to the dialysis centre for treatment and not restricted to dialysis centres’s schedule.
  • More flexibility to better fit dialysis into their lifestyle.
  • Patients take charge their own treatment plan and advice given by the PD care team.

Gentler and works more like the natural kidney

  • PD mimics the function of real kidneys more as the constant presence of the PD solution in the abdominal cavity allows waste products and excess water from the blood to be removed continuously.
  • The non-intermittent nature of PD makes it a gentler treatment. Patients have lesser food restrictions and experience lesser side effects.

PD Community Support Programme

This is a service provided free by The National Kidney Foundation as part of its Peritoneal Dialysis Community Support Programme. The NKF PD Home visit is conducted by a team of nurses who are experienced and trained in PD. Click here for more information.

Application for Peritoneal Dialysis Subsidy at NKF

Please fill up the Peritoneal Dialysis Subsidy Programme Application Form and mail it back to us at The National Kidney Foundation, 81 Kim Keat Road, Singapore 328836. You can also call our toll-free hotline 1800-KIDNEYS (5436397) or email nkfapplication@nkfs.org for more information.


Download and fill up the Peritoneal Dialysis Subsidy Programme Application form