The socioeconomic status of Asian countries is diverse, and government reimbursement policies for treatment of patients suffering from end-stage renal disease (ESRD) vary greatly from one country to another. Both of these factors have a major impact not only on the choice of treatment for ESRD but also on the utilization of peritoneal dialysis (PD) in this region. Based on the data collected from 11 representative Asian countries, several observations can be made. First, the treatment rates for ESRD in these countries correlated closely with their gross domestic product (GDP) per capita income. Second, the PD utilization rate appeared to have a biphasic relationship with the GDP per capita income and treatment rate, in that countries with the highest and the lowest treatment rates tended to have lower PD utilization rates, whereas countries with modest treatment rates tended to have higher PD utilization rates. The reason for low PD utilization in countries with the highest treatment rates differs from that in countries with low treatment rates. In the former, because of full government reimbursement, there is little physician incentive to introduce PD as an alternative form of ESRD treatment to in-center hemodialysis (HD), whereas in the latter, the complete lack of government reimbursement prevents the introduction of PD as a form of treatment. This pattern is likely to change in the future because, of the 11 countries surveyed, all except Thailand have recorded a growth rate which is higher for PD than HD over the last three years. The rate of utilization of different PD systems varies greatly among different Asian countries. Automated PD has yet to gain popularity in Asia. Conventional straight-line systems remain the dominant PD systems in use in Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines, while in Malaysia and Singapore UV germicidal connection devices are most popular. However, in all these countries there has been a progressive shift over the last three years from the straight-line systems with or without germicidal connection devices to the disconnect systems. In China and India, where PD has been introduced only recently, the disconnect systems are used almost exclusively. The disconnect systems are also the most popular systems in use in Japan and Taiwan. As data concerning the cost-effectiveness of different PD systems becomes available, it is likely that trend towards a more liberal use of disconnect systems will continue in the future. The usage of low calcium peritoneal dialysate and the average number of daily CAPD exchanges also vary among the Asian countries. Low calcium peritoneal dialysate has been introduced only in Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, with the highest utilization rate (90%) recorded in Singapore. The Philippines had the lowest average number of daily peritoneal exchanges (6L) among the countries surveyed, followed by Hong Kong (6.4L), China and Indonesia (7L), and the rest (8L). The use of a lower number of exchanges was introduced in some countries, initially, mainly as a cost-saving measure based on the assumption that Asians are of small body build. The justification for the continued use of a lower number of exchanges among Asian patients is debatable, but is supported by the acceptable, long-term clinical outcome of patients given this form of dialysis prescription. It is suggested that long-term prospective studies on dialysis adequacy and clinical outcome should be done in different ethnic groups in Asia to see if the similar guidelines with regard to dialysis adequacy can be applied uniformly to Orientals and Caucasians.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.