Background: The diffusion of peritoneal dialysis (PD) in Italy is lower than expected on the basis of indications and contraindications reported in literature.
Methods: To analyse the factors influencing the use of PD in Italy, we used data from the first National Census of the Italian Society of Nephrology relating to 9773 incident patients (Incid(HD + PD)) in 2004 and 43 293 prevalent patients dialysed in 658 centres at 31/12/2004 (337 public centres, 286 private centres, 12 paediatric centres, 15 research or religious institutions and 8 unspecified).
Results: The percentages on PD of total incident (Inc(PD)%) and prevalent dialysis patients (Prev(PD)%) were 15.9% and 10.3%, respectively with considerable variations from region to region and from centre to centre. The Inc(PD)% was higher in regions with fewer patients on dialysis in private centres. In the private centres, the Inc(PD)% was 0.4%. Of the 325 non-paediatric public centres, 116 (35.7%) do not use PD: compared with the 209 centres which do, these centres have a lower mean Inc(HD + PD) and Prev(HD + PD) per centre (13.0 +/- 12.3 vs 28.6 +/- 18.0 - 51.8 +/- 35.7 vs 117.3 +/- 66.4 patients, P < 0.0001), and more haemodialysis (HD) stations available (3.0 vs 3.5 patients per HD station, P < 0.0001). However, the significant influence of cultural and motivational factors on the use of this method is demonstrated by the fact that it is used by 34% of the smaller non-paediatric public centres, and is not used by 19% of the larger non-pediatric public centres.