Culture-Negative Peritonitis in Peritoneal Dialysis Patients in Australia: Predictors, Treatment, and Outcomes in 435 Cases

Magid Fahim, Carmel M. Hawley, Stephen McDonald, Fiona G. Brown, Johan B. Rosman, Kathryn J. Wiggins, Kym M. Bannister, David W. Johnson

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Background: Reports of culture-negative peritoneal dialysis (PD)-associated peritonitis have been sparse, conflicting, and limited to small single-center studies. The aim of this investigation is to examine the frequency, predictors, treatment, and outcomes of culture-negative PD-associated peritonitis. Study Design: Observational cohort study using Australia and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant Registry (ANZDATA) data. Setting & Participants: All Australian PD patients between October 1, 2003, and December 31, 2006. Predictors: Demographic, clinical, and facility variables. Outcomes & Measurements: Culture-negative PD-associated peritonitis occurrence, relapse, hospitalization, catheter removal, hemodialysis transfer, and death. Results: Of 4,675 patients who received PD in Australia during the study period, 435 episodes of culture-negative peritonitis occurred in 361 individuals. Culture-negative peritonitis was not associated with demographic or clinical variables. A history of previous antibiotic treatment for peritonitis was more common with culture-negative than culture-positive peritonitis (42% vs 35%; P = 0.01). Compared with culture-positive peritonitis, culture-negative peritonitis was significantly more likely to be cured using antibiotics alone (77% vs 66%; P < 0.001) and less likely to be complicated by hospitalization (60% vs 71%; P < 0.001), catheter removal (12% vs 23%; P < 0.001), permanent hemodialysis therapy transfer (10% vs 19%; P < 0.001), or death (1% vs 2.5%; P = 0.04). Relapse rates were similar between the 2 groups. Patients with relapsed culture-negative peritonitis were more likely to have their catheters removed (29% vs 10% [P < 0.001]; OR, 3.83; 95% CI, 2.00-7.32). Administration of vancomycin or cephalosporin in the initial empiric antibiotic regimen and the timing of catheter removal were not significantly associated with clinical outcomes. Limitations: Limited covariate adjustment. Residual confounding and coding bias could not be excluded. Conclusions: Culture-negative peritonitis is a common complication with a relatively benign outcome. A history of previous antibiotic treatment is a significant risk factor for this condition.

Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2010


  • Antibiotics
  • bacteria
  • microbiology
  • outcomes
  • peritoneal dialysis
  • peritonitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology

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