♦ Background: Encapsulating peritoneal sclerosis (EPS) is a rare complication of peritoneal dialysis (PD). It is characterized by encapsulation of the bowel, causing symptoms of intestinal obstruction. Exclusive involvement of parts of the bowel may occur and may be more common than previously thought. Our main objective was to investigate and report on patients with localized EPS.
♦ Methods: Between July 2002 and December 2011, 9 of 17 EPS patients were referred to our department of surgery for a diagnostic laparotomy. Three of the 9 cases showed localized encapsulation of the small bowel and were selected for the purpose of this study.
♦ Results: All 3 patients presented with an acute inflammatory state and symptoms of bowel obstruction. In 2 patients, EPS became clinically overt after kidney transplantation; the third patient was diagnosed while on hemodialysis. All shared a history of PD ranging from 31 to 101 months. In none of the patients was radiologic examination conclusive, although 2 showed peritoneal thickening and ascites. Each patient underwent laparotomy, confirming EPS. In all cases, a thickened peritoneal membrane became apparent, predominantly covering the ileocecal region of the intestine. In addition, a constrictive membrane at the level of the terminal ileum was noted. In 2 cases, the patients underwent enterolysis and dissection of the constricting fibrotic peritoneal membrane (peritonectomy) without bowel resection. The 3rd patient was managed with parenteral nutrition and tamoxifen. The postoperative course in 1 patient was complicated by infected ascites that resolved with antibiotic treatment. Eventually, all patients were doing well, with adequate oral intake and without the need for repeat surgery.
♦ Conclusions: Localized EPS may be more common than previously thought. It has a predilection for the level of the terminal ileum. We believe that an elective diagnostic laparotomy should be considered early, because this procedure offers both diagnostic opportunities and therapeutic options. Localized EPS cases may benefit most from enterolysis and peritonectomy.