Tenckhoff catheter and peritoneal dialysis

A Tenckhoff catheter is a catheter placed through the abdominal wall that provides access to the peritoneum. It is used to perform peritoneal dialysis.

Diagram of peritoneal dialysis
Cycle of catheter use

Examining a Tenckhoff catheter


  • General inspection
    • Patient well/unwell
    • In pain
  • Abdomen
    • Signs of acute abdomen/peritonitis
    • Scars
  • Tenckhoff catheter
    • Patency
    • Signs of inflammation


  • Abdomen
    • Brief abdominal exam to determine if any signs of peritonitis or areas of tenderness
  • Skin around catheter
    • Temperature
    • Swelling

Tenckhoff catheter

Viva questions about peritoneal dialysis

What are the different types?

Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis: patient replaces peritoneal dialysate manually with fluid bags 3-5 times daily (each exchange takes 30-40 minutes)
Automated peritoneal dialysis: machine automatically replaces peritoneal dialysate overnight (over 8-10 hours)

What are the contraindications?

– Peritoneal adhesions
– Stoma
– Hernias
– Inflammatory bowel disease

What are the complications?

– Peritonitis
– Infection around catheter site
– Constipation
– Catheter malposition 
– Fluid leaks
– Hernias
– Encapsulating peritoneal sclerosis
– Weight gain

What are the advantages?

– Can be done at home
– Dialysis fluid can be delivered to patient’s home
– Easier to travel/go on holiday 
– Fewer restrictions on diet and fluid intake

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