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Is rapid initiation of peritoneal dialysis feasible in unplanned dialysis patients? A single-centre experience.

BACKGROUND: Starting dialysis in an unplanned manner is a frequent situation in a dialysis centre even for patients with a regular nephrology follow-up. For no clear reason, chronic haemodialysis (HD) is more frequently used than peritoneal dialysis for unplanned dialysis patients.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the results of a dialysis policy dedicated to unplanned dialysis patients. The aim of this policy was to increase the use of peritoneal dialysis (PD) in an attempt to reduce the need for tunnelled catheter.

METHODS: One hundred seventy-one patients from a single centre, who started dialysis between 1 January 2004 and 31 December 2006, were prospectively followed until 31 December 2006. Unplanned dialysis patients were defined as patients entering in dialysis with no vascular access or peritoneal dialysis catheter. PD was presented as a modality of choice for renal replacement therapy to avoid the need for a tunnelled HD catheter.

RESULTS: There were 60 unplanned dialysis patients during the study period. Among these patients, 34 agreed to be treated by PD. Compared with unplanned peritoneal dialysis patients, unplanned haemodialysis patients had a greater modified Charlson's comorbidity index (5.9 +/- 2.4 versus 4.4 +/- 1.9, P < 0.05). The mean duration of the temporary catheter period was 32 +/- 29 days (median: 24 days) for haemodialysis patients compared with 26 +/- 21 days (median: 25 days) for peritoneal dialysis patients (P = NS). The initial hospitalization duration was similar in haemodialysis patients and peritoneal dialysis patients (24 +/- 28 versus 30 +/- 33 days; median value: 17 versus 20 days, P = NS). PD was started 8.6 +/- 10 days (median: 4 days) after catheter insertion. A tunnelled catheter was used only in three patients until peritoneal dialysis was initiated. Acute automated peritoneal dialysis was used in 19 patients. Among 26 haemodialysis patients, 23 were dialyzed through a tunnelled catheter. Of these 23 patients, 15 were successfully converted to fistula. Median time for fistula creation was 2.6 months after dialysis initiation; median time for fistula utilization was 4.4 months. Actuarial patients survival at 1 year was 79% on haemodialysis compared with 83% on peritoneal dialysis (P = NS). After adjustment of the initial modified Charlson's comorbidity index, dialysis modality had no impact on patient's survival. There was no significant difference between haemodialysis patients and peritoneal dialysis patients regarding survival free of re-hospitalization. Actuarial survival free of peritonitis was 73% at 6 months and 58% at 1 year.

CONCLUSION: Peritoneal dialysis is a safe and efficient alternative to haemodialysis for unplanned dialysis patients. Peritoneal dialysis offers the advantage of reducing the need for tunnelled catheter in unplanned dialysis patients.

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