Randomized, double-blind trial of antibiotic exit site cream for prevention of exit site infection in peritoneal dialysis patients

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of the American Society of Nephrology : JASN








Infection is the Achilles heel of peritoneal dialysis. Exit site mupirocin prevents Staphylococcus aureus peritoneal dialysis (PD) infections but does not reduce Pseudomonas aeruginosa or other Gram-negative infections, which are associated with considerable morbidity and sometimes death. Patients from three centers (53% incident to PD and 47% prevalent) were randomized in a double-blinded manner to daily mupirocin or gentamicin cream to the catheter exit site. Infections were tracked prospectively by organism and expressed as episodes per dialysis-year at risk. A total of 133 patients were randomized, 67 to gentamicin and 66 to mupirocin cream. Catheter infection rates were 0.23/yr with gentamicin cream versus 0.54/yr with mupirocin (P = 0.005). Time to first catheter infection was longer using gentamicin (P = 0.03). There were no P. aeruginosa catheter infections using gentamicin compared with 0.11/yr using mupirocin (P < 0.003). S. aureus exit site infections were infrequent in both groups (0.06 and 0.08/yr; P = 0.44). Peritonitis rates were 0.34/yr versus 0.52/yr (P = 0.03), with a striking decrease in Gram-negative peritonitis (0.02/yr versus 0.15/yr; P = 0.003) using gentamicin compared with mupirocin cream, respectively. Gentamicin use was a significant predictor of lower peritonitis rates (relative risk, 0.52; 95% confidence interval, 0.29 to 0.93; P < 0.03), controlling for center and incident versus prevalent patients. Gentamicin cream applied daily to the peritoneal catheter exit site reduced P. aeruginosa and other Gram-negative catheter infections and reduced peritonitis by 35%, particularly Gram-negative organisms. Gentamicin cream was as effective as mupirocin in preventing S. aureus infections. Daily gentamicin cream at the exit site should be the prophylaxis of choice for PD patients.