Background: Peritoneal infection and poor ultrafiltration continue to be the major causes of treatment failure in CAPD. The combined effects of peritonitis and the continuous exposure to dialysis fluid remain the most likely candidates affecting the peritoneum in the long term. The purpose of this study was to observe the effects of peritonitis and dialysis on longitudinal peritoneal function.
Methods: The peritoneal equilibration test (PET) was utilized to quantify longitudinal changes in low-molecular-weight solute transfer (D/P(creat)) and ultrafiltration (UF) in 233 patients treated with CAPD. Of these, 166 represented an unselected cohort (Group 1) studied prospectively from commencing treatment for up to 54 months, and 67 were selected patients (Group 2) with PET data available at commencement of the study, having been on dialysis for a minimum of 18 months. PETs were performed either 6-monthly or following peritonitis episodes.
Results: Data on the short-term effect of peritonitis kinetics were pooled for groups 1 and 2. Single, isolated episodes (n = 86) had no significant effect on D/P(creat) or UF, whereas recurrences or clusters of infection (n = 70) caused increases in D/P(creat) and reductions in UF, the significance of which increased with the number of episodes. There were significant correlations between both changes in D/P(creat) and UF with the cumulative dialysate leukocyte count, regardless of infecting organism, suggesting that intensity of peritoneal inflammation is also important. Those organisms associated with greater change in peritoneal kinetics, e.g. S. aureus, Pseudomonas, also had the highest neutrophil counts. The longitudinal changes in peritoneal kinetics were analysed for patients in group 1 only. There was a highly significant increase in D/P(creat) after 6 months treatment; this increased further with time on treatment, reaching further significance at 42 and 48 months. There was an associated reduction in UF. In view of the short-term effects of peritonitis on kinetics group 1 was further subdivided into patients who were either peritonitis free or only experienced isolated infections, group 1a, and those that had multiple infection episodes, group 1b. Treatment drop-out, due to death or technical failure occurred at double the rate in group 1b, who also had significantly higher D/P(creat) and lower UF at 1, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months of treatment. Group 1a subsequently caught up, however, indicating that peritonitis is not the only factor influencing long-term changes in peritoneal kinetics.
Conclusions: These data suggest that solute transfer increases and UF declines with time on peritoneal dialysis. This process is exacerbated and accelerated by peritonitis, and appears to be proportional to the degree of associated inflammation and number of infections in close proximity.