Hyaluronan is an important component of extracellular matrix and plays a critical role in early phases of wound healing. Peritoneal mesothelium is a major site of hyaluronan production. Serum hyaluronan concentration has been shown to predict survival in maintenance hemodialysis patients. We hypothesize that mesothelial production of hyaluronan during the stable phase of continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) predicts the risk of peritoneal adhesion and mortality. We studied peritoneal dialysate effluent (PDE) hyaluronan levels from 116 stable CAPD patients. They were then followed-up for 3 years. During the follow-up period, there were 196 episodes of peritonitis in 78 patients. Tenckhoff catheter was removed in 31 episodes (15.8%). Tenckhoff catheter was reinserted successfully in 12 cases, and CAPD was resumed. Peritoneal adhesion developed in 16 cases. Three patients died before Tenckhoff catheter reinsertion was attempted. There was no difference in stable-phase PDE hyaluronan levels between patients who developed peritoneal adhesion and those who did not (159 +/- 63 versus 227 +/- 194 microgram/L, P = 0.27). Thirty-three patients died during the study period. Patients who died had significantly higher PDE hyaluronan concentration than survivors (272 +/- 194 versus 170 +/- 105 microgram/L, P < 0.01). Univariate analysis showed that increased PDE hyaluronan level was associated with a shorter patient survival (P < 0.001). There was no association between PDE hyaluronan level and serum albumin, protein nitrogen appearance, and percentage of lean body mass. Multivariate analysis confirmed that PDE hyaluronan level, serum albumin, and diabetic state were independent predictors of survival. We conclude that PDE hyaluronan level during stable phase of CAPD does not predict the risk of postperitonitis adhesion. However, it is a strong independent predictor of survival in CAPD patients.