Background: The development of fluid and salt retention is a potential problem for all peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients. Sodium removal by the peritoneum is predominantly determined by convective fluid loss but influenced by diffusion and sieving due to free water transport as predicted by the three-pore model (TPM). The aim of the study was to establish the effect of transport status, dwell length and glucose concentration on observed ultrafiltration (UF), dialysate sodium concentration ([Na(+)](D)) and removal, and compare this with that predicted by a computer program based on the principles of the TPM.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of UF and [Na(+)](D) collected prospectively from dwells classified by length, glucose concentration and membrane transport characteristics. Solute transport, converted to area parameter and UF capacity, was measured on each occasion by the peritoneal equilibration test. These parameters, along with plasma [Na(+)], were entered into the computer model. Fixed values for other parameters, e.g. hydraulic conductance and lymphatic absorption and sump volume, were used.
Results: A total of 1853 dwells from 182 patients [10% were on automated PD (APD)] were analysed. There was a high degree of correlation (r = 0.83-95, P<0.001) between the observed and predicted values for UF, [Na(+)](D) and sodium removal across the full range of dwell categories. The model overpredicted UF as the net volume increased with increasing glucose concentration, independently of solute transport. This bias was not fully explained by the preferential use of hypertonic dialysate by patients with reduced UF capacity. The prediction of [Na(+)](D) described sodium sieving, which was overestimated in a small number of patients with UF failure. There were no discrepancies between continous ambulatory PD (CAPD) and APD patients.
Conclusion: This analysis endorses the TPM as a description of membrane function, particularly in relation to sodium sieving and removal. The relationship between dialysate glucose concentration and achieved UF appears to be more complex; even accounting for extended time on treatment and reduction in the osmotic conductance in patients preferentially using hypertonic exchanges, further adjustments may be needed to account for the tendency to overestimate UF.