Dialysate leaks, which occurred in 386 CAPD patients over 11 years, were analyzed retrospectively. 18 patients developed 21 early leaks (within 30 days of catheter insertion) and 18 patients developed 28 late leaks (beyond 30 days of catheter insertion). 8 patients had multiple (2-6) leaks. Both early and late leaks, particularly if they were multiple, were associated with conditions that affect adversely tissue healing and tensile strength. Median surgical insertion was apparently associated with a higher incidence of early leaks. Early leaks were manifested externally, usually through the exit site, and did not require imaging. Late leaks were manifested usually by poor dialysate outflow, localized edema and subcutaneous fluid collections. One third of the late leaks required radiological imaging. Hernias caused 42% of the late leaks. Early leaks were managed by temporary discontinuation of CAPD alone (57%) or surgery. Most late leaks (67%) required surgery. Conservative means (change to IPD, observation) were applied for the management of a few late leaks. Both early and late leaks resulted frequently in replacement of peritoneal catheters, but only late leaks resulted in permanent discontinuation of peritoneal dialysis. Paramedian surgical insertion, waiting period of 10-14 days between catheter insertion and initiation of CAPD, and low starting dialysate volumes have resulted in apparent reduction of the incidence of the early, but not of the late leaks. Dialysate leaks have serious consequences on the performance of CAPD. Early leaks differ from late leaks in some clinical manifestations. Preventive measures have decreased the incidence of early, but not of the late leaks.