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Peritoneal Dialysis Catheter Care


What is peritoneal dialysis catheter care?

Peritoneal dialysis catheter care is instruction on how to help keep your catheter working properly and to prevent infection. You will need to care for your catheter site by cleaning it and changing your bandages correctly.

How do I change my bandages?

Your healthcare provider will change your bandages for the first 2 weeks. When your exit site is healed, you may need to change your bandages every day. A healed exit site is pink, and at least 13 millimeters (smaller than a dime). The area should not be painful.

  • Collect your supplies:
    • Sterile (clean and new) medical gloves
    • Medical mask
    • New bandages
    • Soap and water
    • Solution (as directed by your healthcare provider) for removing old bandages and cleaning your skin
    • Medical tape
    • Clean towel or new paper towel
  • Wash your hands with soap and water. Scrub them for at least 15 seconds. Dry your hands well with a clean towel or new paper towel. Your healthcare provider may also recommend that you use an alcohol-based hand gel after you dry your hands. The gel will help kill any bacteria that remain after you wash your hands.
  • Put on your mask, and then your gloves. Make sure the mask covers both your nose and your mouth. This will help prevent germs from your nose or mouth reaching the exit site. Put on your gloves. Do not touch anything other than the bandage and your supplies when your gloves are on.
  • Do not move your catheter. Do not pull or twist your catheter when you change your bandages. Make sure your catheter stays in place.
  • Use the sterile solution to remove the old bandages. Pour the solution over bandages that are stuck on your exit site to loosen them. If there is a scab, do not pull on it. Remove the bandages slowly.
  • Clean your wound, catheter, and skin. Wipe the exit wound, catheter, and skin around the catheter with a sterile solution. Pat the area dry with a clean towel. Your healthcare provider may tell you to apply an antibiotic lotion or cream to the site to prevent a bacterial infection.
  • Cover your catheter and the exit site with a bandage. Cover your catheter when you are not using it to help it stay in place. This may help stop the catheter from bending and kinking, or being pulled out. Use several layers of bandages to cover the exit site and the skin around your catheter. Hold the bandages in place with tape.

How do I bathe until the exit site heals?

Do not bathe until 2 weeks after your catheter was placed. Healing may be delayed if your exit site gets wet. Until then, use a washcloth, soap, and water to wash your skin. You may be able to shower when the exit site heals. Leave the bandages on until after you shower, and then put on new bandages. Do not put the exit site under water.

What can I do to prevent infection?

  • Keep your catheter in place. Ask your healthcare provider how to tape the catheter to your body. This may help prevent it from twisting and being moved or pulled out.
  • Change your bandages every day, or as directed. You may need to keep your exit site covered with bandages for up to a year.
  • Take antibiotic medicine as directed. This helps prevent or treat an infection caused by bacteria.

How do I fix a flow problem with my catheter?

Inflow or outflow problems may mean that your catheter is blocked, or that the tube has moved out of the right place.

  • Dialysate inflow or outflow is slow: Put 10 to 20 milliliters (mL) of dialysate or saline solution into the catheter with a syringe. Hold the catheter and syringe in 1 hand. Use your other hand to firmly push the dialysate out of the syringe, through the catheter, and into your abdomen. This may clear the blockage. Do this a few times and then use the syringe to try and pull fluid out gently. If fluid comes out, the catheter is no longer blocked.
  • Dialysate inflow is fast, but there is no outflow: Change your position while you do the exchange. If this does not help, disconnect the end of the tubing that is attached to your catheter. Use a syringe to draw the dialysate out of your abdomen. Reconnect the tubing once you have started the outflow.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You have trouble breathing when you do your exchanges.
  • Your catheter has come part or all of the way out of your abdomen.
  • You have stomach pain and are vomiting.
  • Your catheter has a crack or hole in it.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • Your catheter exit site is red, tender, or draining pus.
  • You have a fever and abdominal pain.
  • The fluid that drains out of your abdomen looks cloudy.
  • You see or feel a new lump on your abdomen.
  • Your legs and feet are swollen.
  • You see fluid leaking from the exit site.
  • Your catheter is blocked, or you have a flow problem.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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