Late referral of patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and unforeseeable deterioration of residual renal function in known CKD patients remain a major problem leading to the need of unplanned start on chronic dialysis without a mature access for dialysis. In most centres worldwide, these patients are started on haemodialysis (HD) using a temporary tunnelled central venous catheter (CVC) for access. However, during the last decade, increasing clinical experience with unplanned start on peritoneal dialysis (PD) right after PD catheter implantation has been published. Key studies are reviewed in the present paper, and the results seem to indicate that compared with patients starting PD in a planned setting with peritoneal resting after PD catheter implantation, patients starting unplanned PD have an increased risk of mechanical complications but apparently no increased risk of infectious complications. In contrast, patients starting unplanned HD using a temporary CVC have an increased risk of both mechanical and infectious complications when compared with patients starting planned HD using an arterio-venous fistula or a permanent CVC. Regarding clinical outcome in terms of survival, unplanned PD seems to be at least as safe as unplanned HD. Combining the unplanned PD programme with a nurse-assisted PD programme is crucial in order to offer the patient a real opportunity to choose a home-based dialysis option. In conclusion, unplanned start on PD seems to be a feasible, safe and efficient alternative to unplanned start on HD for the late referred patient with end-stage renal disease and urgent need for dialysis.
Keywords: infections; mortality; peritoneal dialysis; unplanned.
© The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of ERA-EDTA. All rights reserved.