Background: Fungal peritonitis (FP) is an uncommon but serious complication of peritoneal dialysis (PD) and is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Although previous studies have demonstrated that abdominal pain and catheter in situ are associated with mortality in FP patients, the effect of early catheter removal on mortality remains largely unexplored. In this study, therefore, we not only determine the risk factors for mortality but also investigate the effect of immediate catheter removal on mortality in PD patients with FP. Patients and Methods: This retrospective study was conducted on 94 episodes of FP in 1926 patients that underwent PD at Yonsei University Health System from January 1992 to December 2008. Data including demographic characteristics, laboratory and clinical findings, management, and outcome were collected from medical records. Results: Among a total of 2361 episodes of peritonitis, there were 94 episodes of FP in 92 patients, which accounted for 4.0% of all peritonitis episodes and occurred in 4.8% of patients. Mean age of patients was 52.1 years and mean duration of PD before contracting FP was 46.1 months. The presenting symptoms included turbid dialysate (93.6%), abdominal pain (84.0%), and fever (66.0%). Intestinal obstruction was complicated in 39 episodes (41.5%). 75% of FP was caused by Candida species, among which Candida albicans was the most common pathogen, accounting for 41.5% of all episodes of FP. The PD catheter was removed within 24 hours in 39 patients (41.5%), whereas catheter removal was performed between 2 and 9 days after the diagnosis of FP in 42 patients (44.7%). 27 patients (28.7%) died as a result of FP, 59 patients (62.8%) required a change to hemodialysis, and PD was resumed in 8 episodes (8.5%). In addition, the mortality rate was significantly higher in patients with delayed catheter removal (13/41, 31.7%) compared to patients with catheter removal within 24 hours (5/39, 12.8%) (p < 0.01). Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that delayed catheter removal, the presence of intestinal obstruction, and higher white blood cell counts in the blood and in the PD effluent were independently associated with mortality in FP patients. Conclusion: These results suggest that immediate catheter removal (i.e., within 24 hours after the diagnosis of FP) is mandatory in PD patients with FP.
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