Is normal saline harmful to the peritoneum?

Andrzej Breborowicz, Dimitrios G. Oreopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


◆ Background: Normal saline (0.9% NaCl) is used during various abdominal surgical interventions and during peritoneal dialysis to rinse the peritoneal cavity. Although no clear clinical evidence exists for the bioincompatibitity of normal saline, various experimental studies have suggested that 0.9% NaCl solution can initiate fibrosis of peritoneum. ◆ Material and methods: We review the data derived from in vitro and in vivo experimental studies demonstrating the cytotoxic effect of 0.9% NaCl and its ability to initiate peritoneal adhesions. ◆ Results: Normal saline reduces the viability and fibrinolytic activity of peritoneal mesothelial cells. Use of normal saline to wash the peritoneal cavity during abdominal operations or after chronic peritoneal dialysis is more likely to produce adhesions than is no irrigation at all. Chronic exposure of the peritoneum to normal saline causes overgrowth of the connective tissue and formation of new blood vessels within that tissue. ◆ Conclusion: Normal saline is a bioincompatible solution that predisposes to the formation of peritoneal adhesions and fibrosis of the peritoneum. A 0.9% NaCl solution should therefore not be used to rinse the peritoneal cavity after interruption of peritoneal dialysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S67-S70
JournalPeritoneal Dialysis International
Issue numberSUPPL. 4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2005


  • Cytotoxicity
  • Normal saline
  • Peritoneal mesothelium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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