Background: Peritonitis due to Pseudomonas species is a serious complication in continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) patients. The clinical course of peritonitis due to Pseudomonas complicating CAPD remains unclear.
Methods: All of the Pseudomonas species episodes of peritonitis in our dialysis unit were studied from 1995 to 1999. During this period, there were 859 episodes of peritonitis recorded, 113 of which were caused by the Pseudomonas species. Nine episodes were excluded because they were mixed growth. The remaining 104 episodes in 68 patients were reviewed.
Results: The underlying renal diagnosis and prevalence of comorbid conditions of the 68 patients were similar to those found in our entire dialysis population. There was a history of antibiotic therapy within 30 days of the onset of peritonitis due to the Pseudomonas species in 69 episodes (66.3%). In 47 episodes (45.2%) there was a concomitant exit site infection. The overall primary response rate was 60.6% and the complete cure rate was 22.1%. The presence of exit site infection was associated with a lower primary response rate (22 in 47 vs. 41 in 57 episodes, P < 0.01) and a lower complete cure rate (5 in 47 vs. 18 in 57 episodes, P < 0.02). The episodes that had received recent antibiotic therapy had a significantly lower complete cure rate than the de novo cases (8 in 69 vs. 15 in 35 episodes, P < 0.001). Episodes receiving third-generation cephalosporin as part of the initial antibiotic regimen had a significantly higher primary response rate than the ones that initially received aminoglycoside (54 in 81 episodes vs. 8 in 22 episodes, P < 0.05), but their complete cure rates were similar. Twenty-four cases failed to respond to antibiotics and the Tenckhoff catheter was removed. The chance of returning to CAPD was higher when the Tenckhoff catheter was removed on day 10 than on day 15 (9 in 14 cases vs. 5 in 10 cases), although the result was not statistically significant. The Tenckhoff catheter was removed and replaced at another site simultaneously in another 14 cases after the effluent cleared up. None of these patients had a relapse of peritonitis within three months.
Conclusions: Recent antibiotic therapy is the major risk factor for peritonitis due to the Pseudomonas species. Exit site infection and recent antibiotic therapy are associated with poor therapeutic response to antibiotics. When the therapeutic response is suboptimal, early Tenckhoff catheter removal may help preserve the peritoneum for further peritoneal dialysis. Elective Tenckhoff catheter exchange after clearing up the peritoneal dialysis effluent may also reduce the likelihood of relapse. It is desirable to use third-generation cephalosporin in the initial antibiotic regimen for peritonitis treatment in localities with a high incidence of peritonitis due to the Pseudomonas species.