In contrast to hemodialysis (HD), peritoneal dialysis (PD) remains an underutilized form of renal replacement therapy in the United States. Although a variety of factors have been deemed responsible, timely insertion of a PD catheter may also be a contributory factor. We conducted a multicenter analysis to examine whether the establishment of a program for PD catheter insertion by nephrologists has a positive impact on the growth in the number of patients using PD. Data for catheter insertion performed by nephrologists were collected from three centers. Any change in the prevalent PD population at each respective center was compared to the number of PD patients during the period having the traditional surgical approach. Nephrologists at the three centers used the peritoneoscopic technique and performed catheter insertion under local anesthesia. In center 1, the PD population remained stable at between 38 and 45 patients (approximately 16% of the total end-stage renal disease [ESRD] population) from 1993 to 2001. Nephrologists initiated a program for PD catheter insertion in 2001. The number of PD patients has increased to 101 (32% of the ESRD population). In center 2, the PD population remained stable at between 70 and 78 patients (approximately 17%) between 1988 and 1990. Catheter insertion by interventional nephrologists began in 1991. The number of PD patients has increased to 125 (22%). In center 3, the PD population remained at 20-30 patients (approximately 18%) between 1988 and 1991. Catheter placement by nephrologists was initiated in 1991. The number of PD patients increased to 97 (27%). Catheter insertion by interventional nephrologists was suspended in 2001. The number of PD patients has gradually declined to 25 (6%). This study suggests that catheter insertion by the nephrologist can have a positive impact on the utilization of PD.
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