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  • Swimming on CAPD/PD

    Q: Can I swim while on CAPD?

    A: Swimming in certain bodies of water with a PD catheter can increase your risk for peritonitis due to exposure to certain bacteria and microorganisms. Keeping your exit site dry is very important so if the exit site gets wet you should immediately clean and apply a new dressing. When your PD catheter is new you should avoid exposure to water and typically avoid showers until approved by MD. Once your PD catheter is fully healed as determined by your clinical team and categorized by the PD RN and Nephrologist as perfect you may be able to swim in the ocean or personal swimming pool. Ultimately this type of decision should be made with your local clinical PD team. They know what is best for you based on your PD catheter and overall clinical status and what your infection history is. Well water can be a risk in some areas depending on bacterial count. We also recommend that you bleach your home shower head monthly to decrease exposure to water specific organisms such as pseudomonas which can be very difficult to treat. It really comes down to discussions with your MD and PD RN which will help you determine what your options are to ensure you remain infection free. Ultimately the goal is to keep your exit site free from infection and avoid any episode of peritonitis. We know that some patients love to swim or take a bath so have this discussion with your clinical PD team and determine what options are best suited for you.

  • #2
    I swim an hour each day in my pool. I tread water for my cardio. I use pd and my pool uses a salt generator to make chlorine. The salt generator keeps the chlorine level more stable and kills all harmful bacteria. I clean my site often with antibacterial soap also. No peritonitis yet and hopefully never. If you get peritonitis it shortens the length of time that you can stay on PD. I am trying to invent a cover for the PD cath so that I can use the hot tub.

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    • #3
      I use tegaderm. It is really expensive but to me it is worth it to avoid infection. I went to the river, ( I know we are not suppose to do that ) I do not have any history of infections. I used 4 pieces of tegaderm. One to completely seal the transfer set, One to even seal the connection part of the transfer set tube to the permanent catheter tube coming out of my body, and the other two pieces to try to seal the exit site. In reality it was really hard to seal the exit site. Water did end up getting in there, but I did not get any skin or tunnel infection. The catheter and connecting area stayed completely free of any contact with the river water. I went in all the way and waded all day. The tegaderm does a great job of completely sealing it off. Its very delicate you use so you have to be very careful or you will ruin it easily. I think if I had the very large tegaderm I would wrap my transfer set and connecting tubes, then coil it against my body, then put 2 pieces of tegaderm over the whole area to seal it all in. That is the only way in my opinion you can seal off everything including the exit site. But I have to be sure to remember to stretch out my body when applying it or else it will be compromised as soon as I stand up or turn in an awkward way. I plan to go to the river again in August.

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      • #4
        Janielle411 you bring up a commonly discussed dilemma for PD patients so thank you for posting. Swimming should always be discussed with your Nephrologist. Fresh water lakes and ponds put you at higher risk for exit site infection and peritonitis due to bacterial counts, water temperature and exposure to specific organisms. Now that we are experiencing warm weather in most parts of the country the organism counts in fresh water increase. Historically swimming in the ocean or a private chlorinated pool have been the only potential swimming options that Nephrologists and PD experts have recommended. Having a previous exit site infection or peritonitis history may also place you at higher risk for repeat infection with swimming. Tegaderm type dressings trap moisture and would not be recommended for use on an exit site and can cause irritation to the exit site tissue. I would recommend you have a discussion with your dialysis care team so they can help you develop a plan that works best for you and keeps you infection free. Thank you for posting your story we always appreciate sharing so others can learn.
        Michelle Cassin RN CPDN CNN
        Nashua NH

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        • #5
          You can keep your site completely dry. It take a little practice. Circle the tubing as flat and small as possible. Use some tape to secure it while you get your tegaderm. You can order on line. It takes 2 pieces overlapped and pressed tightly on the person and the patch. I only let my husband swim or go into treated water. After, I take off patches and clean and put a new dressing on it. It is well worth the patch to keep it site dry.

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