Merck Manual

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Some Common Complications of Peritoneal Dialysis

Some Common Complications of Peritoneal Dialysis



Loss of too much fluid and salt during dialysis


Unintentional perforation of an internal organ during placement of the catheter

Removal of the catheter from the body

Irritation and inflammation of the membrane that lines the abdomen (peritoneum) or the area around the insertion site (when the catheter does not seal to the abdominal wall)


Unsterile techniques during dialysis

Low level of albumin (a protein) in the blood

Loss of protein in fluid removed during dialysis along with inadequate protein in diet

Scarring of the peritoneum*

Inflammation and infection

Electrolytes in the dialysis fluid

Use of certain drugs

A high sugar (glucose) level in the blood

Use of a peritoneal dialysate that has a high concentration of glucose (used to remove water and sodium during dialysis)

Increased pressure within the abdomen caused by continued exposure to high fluid levels, which weaken the barriers that normally prevent excessive movement of organs and other structures

Intake of inadequate fiber or use of calcium salts to treat high phosphate levels in the blood, causing the intestine to widen, which possibly interferes with dialysate flow in and out of the abdomen

* The peritoneum acts as a filter in peritoneal dialysis. When the peritoneum is scarred, fluids and waste products can no longer readily pass through it to be removed.