Background: The aim of the present investigation is to compare rates, types, causes, and timing of infectious death in incident peritoneal dialysis (PD) and hemodialysis (HD) patients in Australia and New Zealand.
Study design: Observational cohort study using the Australian and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant Registry data.
Setting & participants: The study included all patients starting dialysis therapy between April 1, 1995, and December 31, 2005.
Predictor: Dialysis modality.
Outcomes & measurements: Rates of and time to infectious death were compared by using Poisson regression, Kaplan-Meier, and competing risks multivariate Cox proportional hazards model analyses.
Results: 21,935 patients started dialysis therapy (first treatment PD, n = 6,020; HD, n = 15,915) during the study period, and 1,163 patients (5.1%) died of infectious causes (PD, 529 patients; 7.6% versus HD, 634 patients; 4.2%). Incidence rates of infectious mortality in PD and HD patients were 2.8 and 1.7/100 patient-years, respectively (incidence rate ratio PD versus HD, 1.66; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.47 to 1.86). After performing competing risks multivariate Cox analyses allowing for an interaction between time on study and modality because of identified nonproportionality of hazards, PD consistently was associated with increased hazard of death from infection compared with HD after 6 months of treatment (<6 months hazard ratio [HR], 1.08; 95% CI, 0.76 to 1.54; 6 months to 2 years HR, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.09 to 1.59; 2 to 6 years HR, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.26 to 1.80; >6 years HR, 2.76; 95% CI, 1.76 to 4.33). This increased risk of infectious death in PD patients was largely accounted for by an increased risk of death caused by bacterial or fungal peritonitis.
Limitations: Patients were not randomly assigned to their initial dialysis modality. Residual confounding and coding bias could not be excluded.
Conclusions: Dialysis modality selection significantly influences risks, types, causes, and timing of fatal infections experienced by patients with end-stage kidney disease in Australia and New Zealand.