The nasal antibiotic prophylactic mupirocin reduces exit-site/tunnel infection and preoperative intravenous antibiotic prophylaxis reduces early peritonitis in peritoneal dialysis

People with advanced kidney disease may be treated with peritoneal dialysis where a catheter is permanently inserted into the peritoneum (lining around abdominal contents) through the abdominal wall and sterile fluid is drained in and out a few times each day. The most common serious complication is infection of the peritoneum - peritonitis. This may be caused by bacteria accidentally being transferred from the catheter. This review found that nasal mupirocin reduces exit-site/tunnel infection but not peritonitis while preoperative intravenous antibiotic prophylaxis reduces early peritonitis but not exit-site/tunnel infection. More large scale trials are needed.

Authors' conclusions: 

This review demonstrates that nasal mupirocin reduces exit-site/tunnel infection but not peritonitis. Preoperative intravenous prophylaxis reduces early peritonitis but not exit-site/tunnel infection. No other antimicrobial interventions have proven efficacy. Given the large number of patients on PD and the importance of peritonitis, the lack of adequately powered RCTs to inform decision making about strategies to prevent peritonitis is striking.

Read the full abstract...

Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is used as substitutive treatment of renal function in a large proportion (15-50%) of the end-stage kidney disease (ESRD) population. The major limitation is peritonitis which leads to technique failure, hospitalisation and increased mortality. Oral, nasal, topical antibiotic prophylaxis, exit-site disinfectants and other antimicrobial interventions are used to prevent peritonitis.


The objective of this systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) was to evaluate what evidence supports the use of different antimicrobial approaches to prevent peritonitis in PD.

Search strategy: 

The Cochrane CENTRAL Registry (issue 1, 2004), MEDLINE (1966-May 2003), EMBASE (1988-May 2003) and reference lists were searched for RCTs of antimicrobial agents in PD.

Selection criteria: 

Trials of the following agents were included: antibiotics by any route (oral, nasal, topical), exit-site disinfectants (chlorhexidine, povidone iodine, soap and water), vaccines, and ultraviolet germicidal devices.

Data collection and analysis: 

Two reviewers extracted data on the number of patients with one or more episodes and rates of peritonitis and exit-site/tunnel infection, catheter removal, catheter replacement, technique failure, toxicity of antibiotic treatments, all-cause mortality. Statistical analyses were performed using the random effects model and the results expressed as risk ratio (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI).

Main results: 

Nineteen trials, enrolling 1949 patients met our inclusion criteria. Nasal mupirocin compared with placebo significantly reduced the exit-site and tunnel infection rate (one trial, 2716 patient months, RR 0.58, 95% CI 0.40 to 0.85) but not peritonitis rate (one trial, 2716 patient months, RR 0.84, 95% CI 0.44 to 1.60). Perioperative intravenous antibiotics compared with no treatment significantly reduced the risk of early peritonitis (four trials, 335 patients, RR 0.35, 95% CI 0.15 to 0.80) but not exit site and tunnel infection (three trials, 114 patients, RR 0.32, 95% CI 0.02 to 4.81). No intervention reduced the risk of catheter removal or replacement.