Epidemiological perspective on infections in chronic dialysis patients

Adv Ren Replace Ther. 1996 Jul;3(3):201-7. doi: 10.1016/s1073-4449(96)80022-7.


Infectious complications are a source of substantial morbidity and a common cause of death among dialysis patients. This article considers the magnitude and impact of the problem of infection among patients treated with hemodialysis (HD) and peritoneal dialysis (PD) using data from national registries and large cohort studies of patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). United States Renal Data System (USRDS) data indicate that in the United States for years 1991 to 1992, infection accounted for 12% of all deaths among HD patients and 15% of all deaths among PD patients. Septicemia was the underlying cause in 76% of these infectious deaths among HD patients, of which the vascular access, peritonitis, peripheral vascular disease, and other causes accounted for 12%, 5%, 24%, and 59% respectively. Among PD patients, septicemia accounted for 79% of infectious deaths. Of these deaths attributable to septicemia, peritonitis, peripheral vascular disease, and other causes were reported as the cause in 35%, 23%, and 41% respectively. Infection is also a major cause of morbidity in the dialysis population. Among HD patients, an average of 7.6 bacteremic episodes per 100 patient years (0.076 per year) has been described, of which 48% were associated with access infections. Among PD patients, studies have reported peritonitis rates ranging from 1 in 7.6 to 21.5 months (0.56 to 1.58 per patient year) and exit and/or tunnel infections occurring at a rate of 0.6 episodes per year. The known predictors of infectious complications among these populations are reviewed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Infections / etiology*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Peritoneal Dialysis*
  • Renal Dialysis*
  • Risk Factors