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How long can I remain on PD?


How long can I remain on PD?

Some people have been successfully treated with PD for over 10 years. Generally, around half of the people who start PD stay on PD for around 2-3 years. Many will go on to have a transplant, or switch to haemodialysis. The reasons people transfer to haemodialysis vary from repeat episodes of infections, leaks of PD fluid or hernias, to being unable to cope with constantly doing exchanges. Availability of new PD fluids and a wide range of prescriptions on CAPD and APD mean that more people who choose to stay on PD can do so. Like people without kidney failure, people on PD die. The causes include heart disease (especially smokers), strokes, diabetic complications, or cancer. Survival on PD is affected by age, cause of kidney failure, other medical conditions, lifestyle (exercise, diet, smoking, alcohol intake, stress, compliance with treatment) and luck! Coping and determination are also very important factors, which determine how long people remain on PD.

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Will my peritoneum ‘wear out’?

The peritoneum does not actually ‘wear out’, but in a very small number of patients it may cease to be effective as a dialysis membrane. It is thought that repeated episodes of peritonitis, and using a lot of ‘strong bags’ for a long period of time may affect the life span of the peritoneum.

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Can people choose to stop dialysis?

Yes. The majority of people on PD live fulfilled lives. However, some people feel dialysis is only prolonging their life and they may decide to stop dialysis. People may feel dissatisfied with their lifestyle, medical problems, pain, disability, increasing age, or feel they are just existing and not really living. Competent (mentally fit) adults can choose to stop treatment. It is often a very difficult decision for someone to make, and they will need a lot of information, support and care. A careful review of the person’s life and health, may show problems such as loneliness, depression, financial worries or physical problems. Sometimes if problems can be lessened, this may influence the person’s decision. If after lengthy discussions, a person on PD decides to stop treatment, they, and their family will be supported and cared for by the Renal Unit team.

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The National Kidney Federation cannot accept responsibility for information provided. The above is for guidance only. Patients are advised to seek further information from their own doctor.

NKF Controlled Document No. 248: How long can I remain on PD? written: 26/01/2001 last reviewed: 20/10/2017