Background: Patients with chronic renal failure have an increased risk of tuberculosis (TB). This occurs with much higher frequency within the first 12 months of initiating dialysis and is usually extrapulmonary in nature. Patients most at risk are those from susceptible ethnic groups, especially the Indian subcontinent. Peritoneal TB, otherwise relatively uncommon, has emerged as an important form of TB in patients undergoing continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD).
Methods: All cases of peritoneal TB occurring at our institution in patients undergoing CAPD over a 13 year period were identified and analysed.
Results: Eight cases were identified, of which seven were non-Caucasian. These patients' characteristics and outcomes are presented. All were undergoing CAPD and most developed TB within 12 months of initiating dialysis. All presented with fever, but symptoms and signs were indistinguishable from bacterial peritonitis. Six were culture-positive, mainly from peritoneal dialysis fluid, but only two cases proved smear-positive. All were treated with standard anti-tuberculous chemotherapy. Three went on to permanent haemodialysis as a result of peritonitis and three have died, one of these as a result of TB.
Conclusions: Peritoneal TB, whilst otherwise relatively uncommon, is an important manifestation of TB in CAPD patients and usually develops soon after commencing dialysis. The reasons for this are unknown and require further research.