CAPD Catheter Placement

Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) is mainly used to treat patients with end-stage kidney failure. CAPD has several benefits over hemodialysis such as better quality of life, ability to perform daily activities, simplicity to use, and other medical benefits. To perform dialysis through this procedure, a dialysate solution will be sent into the abdomen through a thin tube called a catheter. The solution filters waste fluids and chemicals from your blood through the peritoneum. The wastes are then taken out from the body through the peritoneum.

This process of filling and removing dialysis solution from your body is called an exchange and it must be performed 3 to 5 times a day. At night, the exchange should be performed once.

Procedure to Place CAPD Catheter

Before performing the first CAPD, your doctor should insert a catheter into your abdomen. The catheter should be placed at least 3 weeks before the dialysis as it enhances the results. Though the catheter can be used immediately, it works more effectively if it is placed 2 to 3 weeks before performing the exchange.

The catheter is placed using a less invasive procedure. You will be given medications to reduce your pain and help you relax. Fluoroscopy is the most common procedure used for CAPD catheter placement. The fluoroscopy technique uses X-rays to view your abdomen clearly. You will be given local anesthesia for performing this procedure.

The doctor will make small incisions beside the belly button or can be made below your ribs. Then, a small hole will be made by cutting the muscle and tissue to insert the catheter. The catheter will be moved into the abdomen from this hole or tunnel. The exit site of the catheter will be placed under your skin. The catheter is made up of silicone or other soft material. It also has cuffs to prevent it from moving and prevent bacteria from entering into the catheter.

The doctor might put blood thinner medicines in the catheter to prevent it from clogging. Once the catheter is placed, the area will be covered with bandages.

The catheter placement takes around one hour. You may need to spend some extra time in the recovery room following the procedure. In the recovery room, the doctor or a nurse will keep monitoring your condition to know if there are any complications after the procedure.

What Happens After the Catheter Insertion?

Once the catheter is placed, you might experience little pain, discomfort, and loss of hunger. All these signs are very common and you do not need to worry about them. The signs will slowly vanish on their own after a few days.

The dressing site should be kept dry and you should not shower the access site without checking with your doctor. Do not undress the dressing of your access site as it can allow bacteria to enter into it and cause infection. 

The doctor may advise you to take stool softeners for 3 to 4 days after the procedure to prevent constipation. Constipation can affect the functioning of the catheter and can cause pain while flushing out waste and while using the catheter. Even if you do not experience constipation, it is advised to take stool softeners as anesthesia can lead to constipation.

If you experience swelling or redness at the access site, you should immediately consult your doctor as they can be signs of a CAPD catheter infection.

How to Take Care of the Catheter?

It is very important to take proper care of your catheter as it can lead to infection at the access site, peritoneum, and the tunnel.

The following measures can help you to take proper care of your catheter:

  • Wash your hands with a handwash or a soap while using the catheter and also after using the catheter.
  • Keep the access site clean to prevent bacteria.
  • All the dialysis tools should be kept in a dry, and clean place.
  • Dialysis should be performed in a clean place to prevent the risk of contamination.
  • Use surgical masks every time while opening endcaps of the catheter.
  • Stop using tight clothing at the access site and use comfortable clothing

Follow the instructions given by your doctor. Never hesitate to ask any doubts about using and caring for your catheter as caring for a catheter is very important. Taking proper care of the catheter can keep it for a long time and can keep you healthy until you need CAPD.