Early risks of peritoneal dialysis catheters

From the beginning having to go to dialysis is already a big hit to the body and to the soul. In this process, catheter is inserted into the patient to have a healthier and more comfortable life. The thing is that the patients run some risks in the early stages of this procedure.

In this post we are going to explore a bit those early risks and how they manifest in the body.

Early complications are the ones that appear in the early months after inserting the catheter. Most of the times these complications arise because there was a mistake in the catheter implantation and they get worse with all the pressure made by content in the abdominal area.


A lot of patients say that the pain that comes with the procedure is deep due to the traction of the bowels and patients can feel pain right after the catheter procedure. Another source of pain comes from the dialysate solution. Here are three exact ways that pain appears in the first stage of the catheter: having a sensibility for the PH in the solution; the compartments where the catheter is inserted; the place where the catheter goes and has contact with many organs of the body .  


Bleeding can come from in two ways: when arteries in the abdominal area are affected which happens when the needle is inserted to the vessels in the blood. In this case only removing the needle or the strange agent in the body will be enough to stop bleeding. The other way is venous laceration that is more of a problem to detect because there are no muscles involved. For each case a fast-medical treatment is required and specific treatments for the vessels  be done.


Perforation risk will always be present in the catheter procedure.  The alarms should go off if bleeding, mild to high level pain or peritonitis is observed and at the same time  if fluids and liquids are pushed back through the catheter or stylet and a bad smell is sensed. These symptoms can arise immediately and medical attention is enough to manage such perforations. But there are some patients that don’t show symptoms in the early stages and the diagnosis here becomes a bit more complicated.  If this diagnosis is done late the patient runs the risk of a serious perforation, obstruction or a renal illness and internal hernia.  This diagnosis can also become tricky because the perforations could be small and remain hidden for a while and the doctors associate this with a very good catheter insertion.


The most common obstruction is the one that comes from the fact that the catheter is very close to the intestine and has the infusion of the solution but does not allow much space for the outflow. All these risks of obstruction have to do directly with poor orientation of the catheter’s tunnel that in turn will result in affecting the abdomen due to the memory the catheter has.  


This risk is very painful and dangerous. It may appear when they implant the catheter and there is an intra abdominal pressure. This risk is just the consequence of not having strong abdominal muscles. There are many things that can be done to correct this in the diagnosis stage. If not, the volume of the infusion should be reduced and the patient should be controlled until a new surgery is scheduled.


Image courtesy of Neon Tommy at Flickr.com


Hydrothorax comes from the fact that the muscles are not strong enough. This risk in not identified until later in the process. This makes it very dangerous as this will not be noticed only when fluid is present in the peritoneal cavity and there is a very high level of intraperitoneal pressure. Here women are at high risk, even more than men because all the fluid accumulates on the right side of the pleural cavity.  To identify this risk we can first see a dyspnea or an inadequate ultrafiltration but it is not immediate and it is not identified in the early stage unless there is an extra test like x-rays or a routine physical check.

Genital Edema

Edema means inflammation. One of the most seen causes for a genital edema is the peri catheter fluid extravasation into the preperitoneal space and a vaginal procedure.  

We have talked a lot about all the dialysis options that patients have. In this case, we just gave the public a series of risks that have to be taken into account when the patient is going to start his or her procedures with catheters. Sometimes the risks are not very well understood by the patients and here is where this post will help the people to more or less understanding, or to have an informed starting point, to understand what are the complications of certain procedures that involve the kidneys and that affect the rest of the body at a certain point.

Be sure to also read this post about how to make dialysis less tiresome


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