Adverse reactions to peritoneal dialysis include mechanical and solution related problems as well as the results of contamination of equipment or improper technique in catheter placement. Abdominal pain, bleeding, peritonitis, subcutaneous infection around a chronic peritoneal catheter, catheter blockage, difficulty in fluid removal, and ileus are among the complications of the procedure. Solution related adverse reactions may include electrolyte and fluid imbalances, hypovolemia, hypervolemia, hypertension, hypotension, disequilibrium syndrome, and muscle cramping.
When prescribing the solution to be used for an individual patient, consideration should be given to the potential interaction between the dialysis treatment and therapy directed at other existing illnesses. For example, rapid potassium removal may create arrhythmias in cardiac patients using digitalis or similar drugs; digitalis toxicity may be masked by elevated potassium or magnesium, or by hypocalcemia. Correction of electrolytes by dialysis may precipitate signs and symptoms of digitalis excess. Conversely, toxicity may occur at suboptimal dosages of digitalis if potassium is low or calcium high. Azotemic diabetics require careful monitoring of insulin requirements during and following dialysis with dextrose containing solutions.