Everything you need to know about CAPD

Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) is a type of peritoneal dialysis (PD) that uses gravity to “exchange” your used dialysis solution for fresh solution. 

Patient reading book while undergoing CAPD exchange

What is CAPD?​

Peritoneal dialysis (PD) uses the lining of your abdomen (also known as the peritoneum) as a natural filter to remove toxins from your blood.1 There are 2 types of Peritoneal Dialysis: Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) and Automated Peritoneal Dialysis (APD). 

CAPD does not require a machine and can be carried out in any clean place. So, whether you’re at home, work, or even travelling, you can continue with your CAPD at your convenience. 

How is CAPD Done at Home?

A bag of clean dialysis solution will be connected to a soft plastic tube (known as a catheter) in your abdomen. CAPD begins when the used solution in your abdomen (known as effluent) is “exchanged” with fresh solution. 

The new solution bag is hung on an IV pole, allowing gravity to draw the fresh solution into your abdomen. Once completed, the system is disconnected, and a cap is placed on your catheter so you’re free to go about your day until your next exchange. Each exchange lasts about 20–40 minutes and usually happens between 3–4 times a day, depending on your dialysis requirements. 

Once you’re on CAPD, your abdomen will always contain dialysis solution, and each time it’s exchanged, you’ll go through the following steps: 

What are the benefits of CAPD?

Greater independence2

CAPD equipment is more portable than other dialysis equipment, so you can perform dialysis even when travelling. You can carry out CAPD in different places like in the workplace or at home.

Reduced physical stress3

CAPD is known as a “continuous” therapy, which means that waste products and excess fluid can be controlled more easily during the treatment process, which is less taxing on the heart and blood vessels.

Less prescriptions

CAPD patients may also be able to take fewer medications and supplements than if undergoing Haemodialysis (HD).

Longer lasting residual kidney function4

Patients on PD might retain kidney function longer than people under HD.

A less restricted diet5

A balanced diet is key for all CKD patients, but since PD is carried out several times a day, there is less time for waste to accumulate in your body compared to HD, which means that you can eat more of the foods you enjoy. Additionally, daily PD means that potassium removal is more efficient than HD, so PD patients don’t have to monitor their potassium intake as closely as HD patients.


Where to go next?

Illustration of Patient with Automated Peritoneal Dialysis

Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) at Home

APD is a type of peritoneal dialysis, which is different from haemodialysis. We explain more on PD. 

Illustration of a patient participating in in-centre haemodialysis

In-Centre Haemodialysis (In-Centre HD)

You may prefer to receive dialysis at a hospital or treatment centre near you with ICHD. 

other treatments for chronic kidney disease

Kidney Transplant & Conservative Care

If you and your clinician decide dialysis isn’t right for you, there are other treatment options you may consider.