Dialysis may be appropriate if your baby has severe kidney failure. Dialysis is the artificial purification of the blood to remove waste products and excess fluid, as well as to regulate electrolytes, especially potassium and sodium.
In Peritoneal Dialysis (PD), also called abdominal dialysis, the blood is purified in the body by introducing dialysis fluid into the peritoneal cavity, where it comes into contact with the peritoneum (a semi-permeable membrane). Waste products and water are transported via the blood vessels in the peritoneum into the dialysis fluid. The dialysis fluid consists of a sterile and potassium-free saline solution. It contains a buffer to maintain a relatively constant level of acidity in the body. The dialysis fluid also contains a substance that causes osmosis to occur, where water is drawn from the blood to the fluid in the abdominal cavity. In order for the dialysis fluid to flow into and out of the abdominal cavity, a soft silicone catheter is surgically inserted.
The dialysis is initiated by connecting a closed system to the soft silicone catheter and the prescribed amount of fluid flows into the abdominal cavity. The fluid then remains in the abdominal cavity for a prescribed period of time. Subsequently, the abdominal cavity is drained of dialysis fluid, which contains waste products and water transported from the blood vessels in the peritoneum since the previous exchange of fluid. Each drainage of fluid should result in more fluid being drained than was inserted at the previous exchange of fluid. In this way, excess water can be removed from the body.