During continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) treatment, loss of ultrafiltration capacity (UFC) is a common complication that can be associated with increased peritoneal fluid absorption rate. The aim of the present study was to investigate the relative importance of lymphatic absorption for total peritoneal fluid absorption in patients with permanent loss of UFC associated with a high peritoneal absorption rate (KE, ml/min; high-KE group, n = 4). Clinically stable CAPD patients (n = 23) as well as patients with loss of UFC associated with increased diffusive mass transport coefficients (KBD, ml/min; high-KBD group, n = 8) served as control groups. The patients were investigated with a 6-hour dwell study with 3.86% glucose solution. The total fluid absorption rate was estimated by the disappearance rate (KE) of 131I-radioiodinated human serum albumin (RISA) from the peritoneal cavity, and the lymphatic absorption rate was estimated by the rate of RISA appearance in plasma (KPP, ml/min). The values of KE and KPP in the high-KE group (4.65 ± 0.93 and 0.42 ± 0.31 ml/min, respectively) were markedly higher than in the clinically stable CAPD patients (1.77 ± 0.60 and 0.15 ± 0.06 ml/min, respectively; both p < 0.001 vs. the high-KE group). In the high-KBD group, KE was lower (2.19 ± 0.38 ml/min, p < 0.001) compared to the high-KE group, whereas KPP was similar (0.26 ± 0.09 ml/min, NS). The fraction of KE which could be accounted for by KPP was on average only 9 + 5% in the high-KE group and did not differ from the fractions in the clinically stable patients or in the high-KBD group (9 ± 5 and 12 ± 4%, respectively). In 5 patients in whom plasma RISA activity was measured for 24 h from the beginning of the 6-hour dwell study, a continuous increase of the RISA level in plasma was observed during this time period. We conclude that although KPP was increased in patients with UFC loss associated with high KE, it accounted for only a minor part of KE. Furthermore, the relatively slow but prolonged appearance of RISA in plasma indicates that the interstitial compartment may serve as a reservoir of macromolecules which are slowly absorbed by local lymphatics. The present study supports previous findings that direct lymphatic absorption is only of relatively minor importance for the fluid absorption in peritoneal dialysis.

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