Background: Although immunodeficiency predisposes to CAPD peritonitis with fungal or unusual organisms, the role of immunosuppression as a predisposing factor for CAPD peritonitis, as well as the outcome of such episodes, remains uncertain.
Methods: The incidence, spectrum of infectious organisms, and outcome of CAPD peritonitis was retrospectively reviewed in 39 immunosuppressed and 146 non-immunosuppressed patients treated with CAPD over the calendar year 1993.
Results: Immunosuppressed patients were younger (mean 44 vs 57 years, P<0.001) and had an increased incidence of previous transplantation, glomerulonephritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and vasculitis. Immunosuppressed patients had more episodes of peritonitis (69/29 patients vs 99/147, P<0.001), required more frequent hospital admission (25/39 vs 33/146, P<0.001), had more days off CAPD (331 vs 242, P<0.001), and required more laparotomies to remove infected CAPD catheters (11/39 vs 14/146, P<0. 01). Immunosuppression was associated with increased infection due to S.aureus and fungi, which may have contributed towards increased morbidity in this group. Current immunosuppression or a recent history of immunosuppression appeared to be equally potent risk factors for infection. There was a trend for the incidence of infection to parallel the aggressiveness of immunosuppression.
Conclusions: Immunosuppression is an important risk factor for CAPD peritonitis. A high index of suspicion for infection and aggressive chemotherapy are mandatory. CAPD may not be the initial therapy of choice in this high-risk group.