Possible Complications of Peritoneal Dialysis

The most common problem with peritoneal dialysis is peritonitis, a serious abdominal infection. This infection can occur if the opening where the catheter enters your body becomes infected or if contamination occurs while the catheter is connected or disconnected from the bags. Peritonitis requires antibiotic treatment by your doctor.

To avoid peritonitis, you have to be careful to follow procedures precisely and learn to recognize the early signs of peritonitis, which include

  • Fever 
  • Unusual colour or cloudiness of the used fluid 
  • Redness or pain around the catheter

Report these signs to your doctor immediately so that peritonitis can be treated quickly to avoid serious problems.

Tips for hand hygiene to prevent peritonitis

Before you touch your catheter, exit site or connections, you should always wash and disinfect your hands. By doing this you diminish the amount of germs (bacteria, viruses) on your hands and thus the risk that they may enter your body and cause infection.

By practicing optimal hand hygiene you can help to prevent infections.

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First step, wash your hands thoroughly to remove dirt. Ensure that your fingernails are clean. Then dry your hands. Next step, disinfection. Ensure to use sufficient disinfectant on your hands so that they are thoroughly covered and that they remain moist throughout the entire procedure. Include your wrists and fingernails. Do not wear rings, bracelets or watches etc. during the procedure. If you have a disinfectant dispenser, use your elbow when applying disinfectant – thereby avoiding contamination of your hands.

Content last updated
  1. Schönweiß G: Dialysefibel 3, Band 2. Abakiss Verlag, 3rd Edition, 2006.