Increased Risk of Staphylococcus epidermidis Peritonitis in Patients on Dialysate Containing 1.25 mmol/L Calcium

Beth Piraino, Judith Bernardini, Jean L. Holley, Jeffrey A. Perlmutter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Peritoneal macrophage function is decreased in vitro in the presence of dialysate with 1.25 mmol/L calcium compared with that containing 1.75 mmol/L calcium. Theoretically, patients using this dialysate may have a higher risk of peritonitis. Nineteen patients on continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) or continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis (CCPD) were converted from dialysate with 1.75 mmol/L calcium (mean time, 33 ± 26 months) to that with 1.25 mmol/L calcium, for some or all exchanges (mean time, 10 ± 4.7 months). Peritonitis rates were compared with 19 control patients who remained on dialysate with 1.75 mmol/L calcium. The two groups were matched for the proportion of diabetics, sex, age, use of the Y-set, and dialysis modality (CAPD, CCPD). Peritonitis rates were similar in the study patients before conversion to 1.25 mmol/L calcium dialysate and in the control patients (0.49 v 0.58 episodes/patient-year, respectively). After conversion to dialysate with 1.25 mmol/L calcium, the peritonitis rate was 0.82 episodes/patient-year contrasted to 0.58 episodes/patient-year in the control patients (P = 0.09). The peritonitis rate due to Staphylococcus epidermidis was 0.51 episodes/patient-year when 1.25 mmol/L calcium dialysate was used, and 0.19 episodes/patient-year for the comparable period in the control patients on 1.75 mmol/L calcium dialysate (P = 0.005). The proportion of peritonitis episodes due to S epidermidis increased from 20% to 61% after conversion to 1.25 mmol/L calcium (P = 0.01). The increased risk of peritonitis due to S epidermidis in patients using dialysate with 1.25 mmol/L calcium is consistent with a previous study demonstrating that clearance of S epidermidis by peritoneal macrophages is less effective with a decrease in the dialysate calcium content. Further studies comparing peritonitis rates with dialysate containing 1.25 mmol/L calcium to that with 1.75 mmol/L calcium should be performed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-374
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Peritoneal dialysis
  • continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis
  • peritonitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology

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