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Hemodial Int. 2009 Oct;13(4):446-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1542-4758.2009.00408.x.

Encapsulating peritoneal sclerosis: importance to the hemodialysis practitioner.

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  • 1Department of Nephrology, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Encapsulating peritoneal sclerosis (EPS) is a rare but devastating complication of long-term peritoneal dialysis (PD) therapy. Encapsulating peritoneal sclerosis is characterized by peritoneal membrane inflammation, followed by progressive peritoneal membrane fibrosis and intestinal encapsulation. Clinical manifestations include ascites as well as intermittent and recurrent small bowel obstruction. The prognosis of EPS is poor. The exact cause of EPS remains unknown. While the risk factors for EPS are not well elucidated, EPS is seen with increased frequency after an increased duration of PD therapy. In more than half the patients who develop EPS, the diagnosis is made after transfer to hemodialysis (HD). It is important for the HD practitioner to initiate surveillance in any patient at risk for EPS while maintaining a heightened index of suspicion for EPS in an HD patient with gastrointestinal symptoms and a history of previous PD therapy. Early diagnosis and prompt initiation of treatment is essential. Early in the course of EPS, immunosuppressive therapy remains the mainstay of treatment. Ultimately, parenteral nutritional support may be required along with surgical therapy to relieve intestinal obstruction. We report a case of EPS in an HD patient at our center highlighting the incidence, risk factors, and treatment strategies in the context of available evidence.

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