Helping you live a better life on dialysis

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Dealing with the Unexpected

Any unexpected events you might need to deal with would most likely be due to infection or a problem with your catheter or cycler. In your training, you’ll learn to act on signs of infection of your catheter, exit site, or peritoneum. Call you doctor or nurse right away if you experience:

  • Pus, redness, or swelling, or you have pain around your exit site or in your abdomen.
  • A cloudy drain bag, abdominal cramping, pain, or fever—these are signs of an infection of the peritoneum.
  • Bulging in the abdomen or groin area—this could mean a possible split in the muscle wall (hernia).

Some non-emergency events on PD can be quite alarming, even though they’re probably not harmful:

  • A crack or break in the catheter or transfer set could leave you vulnerable to infection. If this happens, close off your catheter above the crack with the clamp you receive at training. Then call your nurse or doctor.
  • Blood in the drain bag can occur if a small blood vessel breaks inside your peritoneum. In women, blood in the drain bag can occur each month around ovulation or during a menstrual period. In very rare cases, this can be a sign of an aortic aneurysm. If you are worried, call your nurse or doctor.
  • A sharp shoulder pain can occur if air bubbles get into the peritoneum along with the dialysate fluid. Don’t worry! Your body will absorb the air. Ask your nurse about ways to ensure all of the air is out before you connect.
  • If you have pain during draining, changing your position can help. So can putting the machine on a higher or lower surface. Talk with your nurse about your options.
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