Background: The impact of dialysis modality on outcome, especially on infection early in the course of dialysis, in unplanned acute dialysis initiation has not been well evaluated. The aim of the study was to compare the rates and causes of mortality and morbidity in incident dialysis patients started unplanned acute peritoneal dialysis (PD) or haemodialysis (HD).
Patients and methods: In this observational cohort study, incident dialysis patients with initiation of unplanned and acute PD (n = 66) or HD (n = 57) at a single centre from March 2005 to June 2010 were included and followed up for 6 months (0-183 days, mean follow-up time 4.72 months). For PD, surgically placed Tenckhoff catheters were used. All HD patients were dialysed with a central venous catheter (non-tunnelled or tunnelled). There were no significant differences in terms of gender, age and prevalence of diabetes mellitus in either group. The prevalence of heart failure [New York Heart Association (NYHA) Stage III-IV] was significantly higher in the PD group (73 versus 46% in HD group, P < 0.01). The population was stratified to PD and HD comparing mortality, infection, bacteraemia and hospitalization.
Results: Of the 123 patients who commenced acute and unplanned dialysis, n = 44 (35.8%) died during the follow-up period of 0-183 days. There were no significant difference in half-year mortality in n = 20 PD patients (30.3%) versus n = 24 HD patients (42.1%) (P = 0.19). The cardiovascular mortality in PD and HD patients were 9.1 and 10.5%, respectively (P = 1.00). Overall mortality due to infection was higher in the HD (17.5%) versus in the PD group (9.1%), however, not significant (P = 0.19). HD patients had significantly higher probability of bacteraemia in the first 183 days compared to PD patients (21.1 versus 3.0%, P < 0.01). Group comparison by Poisson regression analyses showed that the relative risk of bacteraemia in the PD group versus HD group was 0.16 (95% confidence interval, 0.05-0.57, P = 0.005). The significant difference was not affected by the confounder's patient age at time of dialysis, male sex, heart failure (NYHA III-IV), diabetes, malignancy and peripheral arterial occlusive disease Stage IV. There were high proportions of hospitalization after the initiation of dialysis in both groups (PD 75.0% and HD 67.3%, P = 0.40). Univariate and multiple regression analyses revealed only age at initiation of dialysis to be significantly associated with overall mortality (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Dialysis modality (PD versus HD) in an acute unplanned dialysis setting showed, in our population, no significant influence on survival. HD patients had a significantly higher risk of bacteraemia, perhaps due to central venous dialysis catheter. PD seems to be a safe and efficient, at least comparable, alternative to HD in acute unplanned dialysis settings.