Background: Culture-negative peritonitis is a serious complication in peritoneal dialysis patients.
Methods: We studied all consecutive episodes of culture-negative peritonitis in our unit from 1995 to 2001. We identified 1,182 episodes of peritonitis recorded; 212 episodes in 149 patients had negative culture results.
Results: The overall primary response rate was 67.5%, and the complete cure rate was 37.7%. In 95 episodes (44.8%), technical problems during the collection of dialysis effluent were suspected. There was a history of antibiotic therapy within 30 days before the onset in 56 episodes (26.4%). Recent antibiotic therapy was associated with a lower primary response rate (31 of 56 versus 113 of 156 episodes; P = 0.019) and lower complete cure rate (12 of 56 versus 68 of 156 episodes; P = 0.003). Furthermore, a history of peritonitis from 31 to 120 days before the onset also was associated with a lower complete cure rate (P = 0.001). Multivariate analysis showed that recent peritonitis was the only independent predictor of treatment failure (odds ratio, 2.87; 95% confidence interval, 1.56 to 5.29).
Conclusion: Most of the culture-negative peritonitis could be explained by recent antibiotic therapy or technical problems during dialysate culture. Recent peritonitis and antibiotic therapy are associated with a poor treatment response. Early Tenckhoff catheter removal is recommended in this group of patients.