Catheter type, placement and insertion techniques for preventing peritonitis in peritoneal dialysis patients

What is the issue?

People with kidney failure 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 several times overnight or during the day. The most common serious complication is infection of the peritoneum - peritonitis. This may be caused by germs which may be accidentally introduced via the catheter into the peritoneum resulting in peritonitis.

What did we do?

We conducted a review of the literature to examine the effects of different methods of catheter insertion and different types of catheter in prevention of peritonitis in PD patients.

What did we find?

We identified 42 studies (3144 participants) examining the effects of different methods of catheter insertion and types of catheter on peritonitis. The risk of peritonitis was not affected by different types of insertion methods or types of catheters inserted.


There is no evidence to support a specific catheter insertion technique or type of catheter with the aim to prevent peritonitis in peritoneal dialysis patients.

Authors' conclusions: 

There is no strong evidence that any catheter-related intervention, including the use of different catheter types or different insertion techniques, reduces the risks of PD peritonitis or other PD-related infections, technique failure or death (all causes). However, the numbers and sizes of studies were generally small and the methodological quality of available studies was suboptimal, such that the possibility that a particular catheter-related intervention might have a beneficial effect cannot be completely ruled out with confidence.

Read the full abstract...

Peritonitis is one of the limiting factors for the growth of peritoneal dialysis (PD) worldwide and is a major cause of technique failure. Several studies have examined the effectiveness of various catheter-related interventions for lowering the risk of PD-related peritonitis. This is an update of a review first published in 2004.


To evaluate the role of different catheter implantation techniques and catheter types in lowering the risk of PD-related peritonitis in PD patients.

Search strategy: 

We searched the Cochrane Kidney and Transplant Register of Studies up to 15 January 2019 through contact with the Information Specialist using search terms relevant to this review. Studies in the Register are identified through searches of CENTRAL, MEDLINE, and EMBASE, conference proceedings, the International Clinical Trials Register (ICTRP) Search Portal and

Selection criteria: 

Studies comparing different catheter insertion techniques, catheter types, use of immobilisation techniques and different break-in periods were included. Studies of different PD sets were excluded.

Data collection and analysis: 

Two authors independently assessed study quality and extracted data. Statistical analyses were performed using a random effects model and the results expressed as risk ratio (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI).

Main results: 

Forty-two studies (3144 participants) were included: 18 evaluated techniques of catheter implantation, 22 examined catheter types, one assessed an immobiliser device, and one examined break-in period. In general, study quality was variable and almost all aspects of study design did not fulfil CONSORT standards for reporting.

Catheter insertion by laparoscopy compared with laparotomy probably makes little or no difference to the risks of peritonitis (RR 0.90, 95% CI 0.59 to 1.35; moderate certainty evidence), exit-site/tunnel infection (RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.43 to 2.31; low certainty evidence), catheter removal/replacement (RR 1.20, 95% CI 0.77 to 1.86; low certainty evidence), technique failure (RR 0.71, 95% CI 0.47 to 1.08; low certainty evidence), and death (all causes) (RR 1.26, 95% CI 0.72 to 2.20; moderate certainty evidence). It is uncertain whether subcutaneous burying of catheter increases peritonitis (RR 1.16, 95% CI 0.37 to 3.60; very low certainty evidence). Midline insertion compared to lateral insertion probably makes little or no difference to the risks of peritonitis (RR 0.65, 95% CI 0.32 to 1.33; moderate certainty evidence) and may make little or no difference to exit-site/tunnel infection (RR 0.56, 95% CI 0.12 to 2.58; low certainty evidence). Percutaneous insertion compared with open surgery probably makes little or no difference to the exit-site/tunnel infection (RR 0.16, 95% CI 0.02 to 1.30; moderate certainty evidence).

Straight catheters probably make little or no difference to the risk of peritonitis (RR 1.04, 95% CI 0.82 to 1.31; moderate certainty evidence), peritonitis rate (RR 0.91, 95% CI 0.68 to 1.21; moderate certainty evidence), risk of exit-site infection (RR 1.12, 95% CI 0.94 to 1.34; moderate certainty evidence), and exit-site infection rate (RR 1.05, 95% CI 0.77 to 1.43; moderate certainty evidence) compared to coiled catheter. It is uncertain whether straight catheters prevent catheter removal or replacement (RR 1.11, 95% CI 0.73 to 1.66; very low certainty evidence) but straight catheters probably make little or no difference to technique failure (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.51 to 1.31; moderate certainty evidence) and death (all causes) (RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.62 to 1.46; low certainty evidence) compared to coiled catheter. Tenckhoff catheter with artificial curve at subcutaneous tract compared with swan-neck catheter may make little or no difference to peritonitis (RR 1.29, 95% CI 0.85 to 1.96; low certainty evidence) and incidence of exit-site/tunnel infection (RR 0.96, 95% CI 0.77 to 1.21; low certainty evidence) but may slightly improve exit-site infection rate (RR 0.67, 95% CI 0.50 to 0.90; low certainty evidence).