Management options for hydrothorax complicating peritoneal dialysis

Semin Dial. 2003 Sep-Oct;16(5):389-94. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-139x.2003.16080.x.


Hydrothorax as a result of pleuroperitoneal communication occurs in approximately 2% of continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) patients. Although our understanding of its mechanisms is incomplete, it is apparent that the key to successful therapy is obliteration of a transdiaphragmatic route of dialysate leakage (pleuroperitoneal communication), possibly coupled with reduction of intra-abdominal pressure. This review corroborated the findings from 10 major population-based case series in which 60 of the 104 cases (58%) were able to resume long-term peritoneal dialysis (PD). Temporary interruption of PD alone was successful in half of them. As compared to this conservative approach, as well as chemical pleurodesis via intercostal chest drain, video-assisted thoracoscopic intervention (including direct pleurodesis and diaphragmatic repair) has shown a promising role. Efficacy of thoracoscopic treatment has been confirmed by several case series from various centers and the demonstration of a success rate in excess of 90%. With accumulating experience using the thoracoscopic technique, it remains to be seen whether this mode of treatment will obviate the traditional closed pleurodesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hydrothorax / etiology
  • Hydrothorax / therapy*
  • Peritoneal Dialysis / adverse effects*
  • Pleurodesis
  • Thoracotomy