Peritoneal Dialysis Use in Patients With Ascites: A Review

Nilum Rajora, Lucia De Gregorio, Ramesh Saxena

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The past few decades have seen steady increase in the prevalence of kidney failure needing kidney replacement therapy. Concomitantly, there has been progressive growth of heart failure and chronic liver disease, and many such patients develop ascites. Therefore, it is not uncommon to encounter patients with kidney failure who concurrently have ascites. The presence of ascites adds many challenges in the management of kidney failure. Poor hemodynamics make volume management difficult. The presence of coagulopathy, malnutrition, and encephalopathy compounds the complexity of the management. Such patients do not tolerate hemodialysis well. However, several concerns have limited the use of peritoneal dialysis (PD), so hemodialysis remains the predominant dialysis modality in these patients. However, observational studies have illustrated that PD provides hemodynamic stability and facilitates better volume management compared with hemodialysis. Moreover, PD obviates the need for therapeutic paracentesis by facilitating continuous drainage of ascites. PD potentially reduces hemorrhagic complications by avoiding routine anticoagulation use. Moreover, small studies have suggested that outcomes such as peritonitis and mechanical complications are comparable to those in PD patients without ascites. PD does not affect transplant candidacy, and these patients can successfully receive combined liver and kidney transplants. Hence, PD should be considered a viable dialysis option in kidney failure patients with ascites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)728-735
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Ascites
  • catheter placement
  • chronic kidney disease (CKD)
  • chronic liver disease (CLD)
  • cirrhosis
  • dialysis
  • dialysis modality
  • fill volume
  • hypoalbuminemia
  • kidney failure
  • nutritional status
  • peritoneal dialysis (PD)
  • peritonitis
  • review
  • simultaneous kidney and liver transplant (SLKT)
  • volume status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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