Background: Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is underused in France compared with other countries. In addition, there are tremendous regional discrepancies concerning the utilization rate of PD. This study was carried out to evaluate the opinion of French nephrologists regarding the optimal rate of PD utilization and to determine which factors limit PD development in France.
Methods: Of the 22 French regions, 2 regions with a high rate of PD utilization (prevalence >15%) and 3 regions with a low rate of PD utilization (prevalence <10%) were selected. In June 2007, nephrologists from the five regions were surveyed by questionnaire. Responses were compared between 'low-prevalence' and 'high-prevalence' groups.
Results: The response rate was 70% and there was no significant difference between the two groups regarding the response rate. In the two groups, a majority of nephrologists were in charge of PD patients (30/34 in 'high-prevalence' group versus 61/80 in 'low-prevalence' group, P = 0.14). Information about PD in the predialysis clinics was provided by nephrologists from high- and low-prevalence regions (32/34 versus 65/80, P = 0.08). Opinions on the optimal rate of PD for prevalent and incident dialysis patients were significantly different between 'high-prevalence' and 'low-prevalence' groups [31 +/- 15% versus 25 +/- 14% (P < 0.03) and 25 +/- 14% versus 19 +/- 9% (P < 0.02)]. There was a significant difference concerning the optimal rate of PD in incident dialysis patients between nephrologists working in public centres (29 +/- 15%), those working in non- profit clinics (27 +/- 12%) and nephrologists working in the private sector (14 +/- 8%). Lack of nurses available for the patient care (48%), low reimbursement of PD (25%), limited training (23%) and hospital care facilities (23%) were the main barriers limiting PD utilization.
Conclusions: In France, like in other countries, there are factors limiting PD development; however, regional discrepancies regarding PD utilization seem to be linked to the nephrologist's opinion.