Nature Reviews Nephrology 8, 224-233 (April 2012) | doi:10.1038/nrneph.2012.13

Subject Category: Dialysis (hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, continuous renal replacement)

An update on peritoneal dialysis solutions

Elvia García-López, Bengt Lindholm & Simon Davies  About the authors


Peritoneal dialysis (PD) has achieved its current position as the most commonly used home-based dialysis therapy—and with patient survival equal to that seen with hemodialysis—despite the use of glucose-based dialysis solutions with high concentrations of glucose, glucose degradation products and lactate, high osmolality, and low pH, features that are harmful both for the peritoneum and the patient. Newer PD solutions with alternative buffers, a higher pH and fewer glucose degradation products, or ones that contain icodextrin or amino acids as osmotic agents, have been introduced in many countries and have been shown to improve peritoneal membrane health and viability. Icodextrin solution enhances fluid and sodium removal, and the once-daily use of icodextrin and/or amino acid solutions can lessen the harmful effects caused by the exposure of the peritoneal membrane to glucose. However, whether the newer PD solutions improve patient survival over the older solutions is not clear. Use of PD therapy, with or without the newer PD solutions, is associated with an improvement in patient survival that is equivalent to that obtained with hemodialysis. Therefore, the conventional glucose-based solutions—despite their known negative features—continue to have a well-established role in PD therapy, particularly in the many countries where the newer PD solutions are not easily available.

Author affiliations

E. García-López, B. Lindholm & S. Davies
Divisions of Baxter Novum and Renal Medicine, Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology, Karolinska Institutet, K56 Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, S-141 86 Stockholm, Sweden (E. García-López, B. Lindholm).  Department of Nephrology, Keele University, University Hospital of North Staffordshire, Royal Infirmary, Princess Road, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST4 7LN, UK (S. Davies).

Correspondence to: B. Lindholm

Published online 21 February 2012