Swimming on Peritoneal Dialysis: Recommendations from Australian PD Units

Anna Lee
Peritoneal Dialysis International: Journal of the International Society for Peritoneal Dialysis 2019, 39 (6): 527-531
Background: There is no evidence to support the need for protection of the peritoneal dialysis (PD) catheter and exit site for people on PD who want to swim. Swimming with a PD catheter is perceived to potentially put that person at increased risk of infection. Objectives of this study were to determine the proportion of Australian PD units supporting swimming for people on PD, recommendations made to protect the PD catheter, and exit site and any subsequent infective complications. Method: Phone surveys were conducted with PD nurses from a cross section of 39 Australian PD units. Results: Almost all units reported that patients on PD do swim despite only 77% of units advocating swimming. Swimming in sea water (85%) or a private swimming pool (90%) is mostly recommended. Covering the exit site and PD catheter is recommended with a waterproof film dressing or colostomy bag. Performing routine exit-site care after swimming is recommended (100%). There were 7 reported exit-site infections and 2 episodes of peritonitis perceived to be associated with swimming with a PD catheter. Conclusion: Most PD units in Australia report that patients on PD swim. Swimming is recommended in either sea water or private swimming pools. The PD catheter and exit site should be covered with either a clear waterproof dressing or colostomy bag. Routine exit-site care should be performed after swimming. Infections were rarely reported in those who swim. Until further research is available, best practice recommendations are warranted for the safety of those on PD who want to swim.

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