Deadly Risk for Some Dialysis Patients

Peritonitis in peritoneal dialysis patients associated with mortality risk

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) When kidney failure patients are waiting for a transplant, they are put on dialysis. While dialysis replaces the function of the kidneys, it is not a permanent fix. Over time, dialysis patients may face serious problems.

In a recent study, there was a strong relationship between peritonitis (inflammation of the tissue that lines the inner wall of the abdomen and covers most abdominal organs) and death among patients on peritoneal dialysis - a process that uses the thin abdominal tissue as a layer to filter blood.

"Ask your doctor about the risks of dialysis."

"Peritonitis is a major complication of peritoneal dialysis, but the relationship between peritonitis and mortality among these patients is not well understood," said Neil Boudville, FRACP, of the University of Western Australia, and colleagues.

So, Dr. Boudville and his fellow researchers studied more than 1,000 patients who died while on peritoneal dialysis or within 30 days after switching to hemodialysis.

There was a total of 1,446 episodes of peritonitis, with 27 percent of patients having at least two episodes.

The chances of a patient developing peritonitis were much higher in the 120 days before death compared to the rest of the year. The odds of peritonitis were even higher in the 30 days before death.

Patients were 6.2 times more likely to develop peritonitis in the 30 days immediately before death, compared to a 30-day window 6 months before death.

"In conclusion, peritonitis significantly associates with mortality in peritoneal dialysis patients," the authors said.

The study included 1,316 patients who were on peritoneal dialysis in Australia and New Zealand between May 2004 and December 2009.

The results were published August 1 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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Review Date: 
August 13, 2012
Last Updated:
August 15, 2012