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Perit Dial Int. 2006 Jul-Aug;26(4):452-7.

Barriers to utilization of chronic peritoneal dialysis in network #1, New England.

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New Haven CAPD, 136 Sherman Avenue, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, USA.



The percentage of prevalent end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients maintained on chronic peritoneal dialysis (CPD) therapy in the United States declined from 15% in 1991 to 8.1% in 2002. Previous studies indicate that nephrologists in the United States feel 32.6% of prevalent ESRD patients should be on CPD therapy. The present study was designed to better understand the reasons for the discrepancy in actual versus desired prevalence of CPD utilization.


The medical directors of all dialysis centers in New England were mailed a questionnaire about the nephrologists' opinions concerning the percentage of patients that should be maintained on CPD therapy, reasons that limited patients' selection of CPD as initial therapy, and concerns about the current status of CPD therapy. The nephrologists were also invited to free text any other comments or concerns.


A total of 117 questionnaires were sent; 59 (50.4%) were returned. These medical directors cared for a median of 10 (range 1 - 100) patients on CPD therapy, meaning 15% of dialysis patients in New England are maintained on CPD therapy. The medical directors felt that 29% (range 10% - 50%) of prevalent ESRD patients should be maintained on CPD therapy. The most common reasons cited by the nephrologists as barriers to CPD therapy included patient preference (54%), contraindications to performing CPD therapy (32%), poor social support (31%), significant comorbid disease (20%), late referrals and acute hospital starts (19%), problems with education re chronic kidney disease (12%), and problems with the structure and organization of CPD facilities (12%). These same medical directors stated that concerns about technique failure (25%), long-term viability of CPD therapy (25%), and mortality rates of CPD patients (17%) impacted on their use of CPD therapy as renal replacement therapy for patients with ESRD.


Nephrologists in New England felt that 29% of prevalent ESRD patients should be maintained on CPD therapy, yet the actual incidence of CPD utilization in New England is 15%. A variety of factors were cited by the nephrologists as important reasons limiting CPD utilization. These nephrologists were also concerned about technique failure and long-term viability of CPD therapy. It is necessary that we look closely at each domain cited by the nephrologists if CPD therapy is to remain a viable option for patients with ESRD in the United States.

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