Use of Different Buffers in Peritoneal Dialysis

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A buffer is included in the peritoneal dialysis solution in order to offset the hydrogen ions normally produced during the metabolic processes. Nowadays, the buffer used is lactate, and its concentration in conventional peritoneal dialysis fluids is 35 or 40 mmol/L. Despite the general thought that peritoneal dialysis adequately corrects uremic acidosis, several studies have demonstrated that more than 50% of patients present mild to moderate acidosis with the solution containing 35 mmol/L of lactate, although with a 40 mmol/L solution this percentage decreases, a substantial number of patients still remain acidotic. This acid-base derangement is characterized by a normal pH and a below-normal plasma bicarbonate concentration, although the external body base balance is in equilibrium. There is evidence that this condition contributes to uremic osteodystrophy and has a detrimental effect on protein metabolism. Conventional solutions also affect mesothelial cell viability and local leukocyte function and have potential systemic effects such as the impairment of cellular redox state. New solutions containing pure bicarbonate or a mixture of bicarbonate and lactate have recently been investigated. A bicarbonate solution containing 34 mmol/L significantly increased plasma bicarbonate levels as compared with the lactate 35 mmol/L solution. It has been demonstrated that bicarbonate solutions have better biocompatibility than the lactate buffered solution and substantially reduce abdominal discomfort experienced by a certain percentage of patients during the solution infusion. These studies demonstrated that the bicarbonate-buffered CAPD solution is safe, well-tolerated, and does not present any, even potential, side effects. Thus, it seems reasonable to consider the bicarbonate buffered solution the standard instead of the alternative, and it might entirely replace lactate as buffer in peritoneal dialysis fluid.

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