May 28, 2012

Dialysis Patients Threatened by Deadly Infection

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- New research shows an infection called peritonitis commonly arises in the weeks before many dialysis patients die. The findings suggest that peritonitis may be a deadly condition for some kidney failure patients.

Most kidney failure patients on dialysis get their treatments at a clinic, through hemodialysis. But about 10% to 20% receive treatments at home through peritoneal dialysis, where fluids are first pumped into the abdominal cavity to collect wastes from the blood and are later removed from the body. Unfortunately this fluid can become infected, causing a condition called peritonitis. This occurs as commonly as twice a year to once every five or six years.

Researchers found that compared with the rest of the year, patients were more likely to develop peritonitis during the 120 days prior to their death, and even more so during the final month before their death. Specifically, they were six times as likely to develop peritonitis during the 30 days prior to their death compared with six months earlier.

"We have therefore proposed a potential new definition for a cause of death–"peritonitis-associated death"–being any death within 30 days of an episode of peritonitis," Professor Neil Boudville of the University of Western Australia, Perth was quoted as saying.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, May 2012