In peritoneal dialysis, the internal lining of the abdomen acts as the artificial kidney. The abdomen is lined by a thin membrane called the peritoneum, which has a rich supply of tiny blood vessels (capillaries).
If the peritoneal membrane is bathed in fluid, waste products can pass from the capillary blood vessels into that fluid, which removes them from the blood.
During peritoneal dialysis, fluid is drained into the peritoneal cavity, allowed to sit there for several hours while it absorbs waste products, and then drained out. This process, repeated several times a day, can effectively replace kidney function and – because it is a continuous process which allows you to carry on with normal activities – it is known as continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD).
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