Background: Peritonitis is a major complication of peritoneal dialysis (PD). We have performed a national study of all patients on PD in Scotland over a 3.5 year period examining the causes of technique failure, rates of peritonitis, causative organisms, clinical outcomes and differences between automated peritoneal dialysis (APD) and continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD).
Methods: All 10 adult renal units in Scotland participated in the study and the data include all 1205 patients who were on PD in Scotland from January 1999 to June 2002. The data were collected prospectively by the PD nurses and reported to the Scottish Renal Registry every 6 months.
Results: Refractory or recurrent peritonitis was the cause of technique failure in 167 patients (42.6% of all cases of technique failure). There were 928 cases of peritonitis in 1487 patient-years, which equates to an overall peritonitis rate of one episode every 19.2 months. The peritonitis rates for APD and CAPD were similar at one episode every 20.3 months and one episode every 18.6 months, respectively. These results include 88 cases of peritonitis due to relapse or re-infection. There was a statistically significant difference (P = 0.012) in peritonitis rates between units using nasal mupiricin (one episode every 21.9 months) and those that did not (one episode every 18.3 months). Coagulase-negative Staphylococcus was the most common cause of peritonitis (29%), although this rate is lower than in historic studies. The overall initial cure rate was 75%. The initial cure rate for APD was 77.2% and for CAPD was 73.7%. No causative organism was isolated in 17% of cases.
Conclusion: PD-associated peritonitis is the leading cause of technique failure in Scotland. We validate previous studies showing a decrease in the proportion of peritonitis episodes that are caused by coagulase-negative staphylococci. APD peritonitis rates are not significantly better than CAPD peritonitis rates in Scotland, and the initial cure rates for APD and CAPD are similar.