Open Access Research article

The role of virulence factors in the outcome of staphylococcal peritonitis in CAPD patients

Pasqual Barretti1, Augusto C Montelli1, Jackson EN Batalha1, Jacqueline CT Caramori1 and Maria de Lourdes RS Cunha2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine, Botucatu School of Medicine, UNESP, Botucatu, Sao Paulo, Brazil

2 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Biosciences Institute, UNESP, Botucatu, Sao Paulo, Brazil

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Infectious Diseases 2009, 9:212  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-212

Published: 22 December 2009



Peritonitis continues to be the most frequent cause of peritoneal dialysis (PD) failure, with an important impact on patient mortality. Gram-positive cocci such as Staphylococcus epidermidis, other coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS), and Staphylococcus aureus are the most frequent etiological agents of PD-associated peritonitis worldwide. The objective of the present study was to compare peritonitis caused by S. aureus and CoNS and to evaluate the factors influencing outcome.


Records of 86 new episodes of staphylococcal peritonitis that occurred between 1996 and 2000 in the Dialysis unit of a single university hospital were studied (35 due to S. aureus, 24 to S. epidermidis and 27 to other CoNS). The production of slime, lipase, lecithinase, nuclease (DNAse), thermonuclease (TNAse), α- and β-hemolysin, enterotoxins (SEA, SEB, SEC, SED) and toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1) was studied in S. aureus and CoNS. Antimicrobial susceptibility was evaluated based on the minimal inhibitory concentration determined by the E-test. Outcome predictors were evaluated by two logistic regression models.


The oxacillin susceptibility rate was 85.7% for S. aureus, 41.6% for S. epidermidis, and 51.8% for other CoNS (p = 0.001). Production of toxins and enzymes, except for enterotoxin A and α-hemolysin, was associated with S. aureus episodes (p < 0.001), whereas slime production was positive in 23.5% of CoNS and 8.6% of S. aureus strains (p = 0.0047). The first model did not include enzymes and toxins due to their association with S. aureus. The odds of resolution were 9.5 times higher for S. epidermidis than for S. aureus (p = 0.02) episodes, and were similar for S. epidermidis and other CoNS (p = 0.8). The resolution odds were 68 times higher for non-slime producers (p = 0.001) and were not influenced by oxacillin resistance among vancomycin-treated cases (p = 0.89). In the second model, the resolution rate was similar for S. aureus and S. epidermidis (p = 0.70), and slime (p = 0.001) and α-hemolysin (p = 0.04) production were independent predictors of non-resolution.


Bacterial species and virulence factors rather than antibiotic resistance influence the outcome of staphylococcal peritonitis.