Schematic diagram of peritoneal dialysis
Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is a treatment for patients with severe chronic kidney disease. This type of dialysis uses the patient's peritoneum in the abdomen as a membrane across which fluids and dissolved substances (electrolytes, urea, glucose, albumin, osmotically active particles, and other small molecules) are exchanged from the blood. Fluid is introduced through a permanent tube in the abdomen and flushed out either every night while the patient sleeps (automatic peritoneal dialysis) or via regular exchanges throughout the day (continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis). PD is used as an alternative to hemodialysis though it is far less commonly used in many countries, such as the United States. It has comparable risks but is significantly less costly in most parts of the world, with the primary advantage being the ability to undertake treatment without visiting a medical facility. The primary complication of PD is infection due to the presence of a permanent tube in the abdomen.