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Abstract: FR-PO070

Patient Questions Related to Peritoneal Dialysis: An Analysis of Online Search Data

Session Information

  • Educational Research
    November 03, 2023 | Location: Exhibit Hall, Pennsylvania Convention Center
    Abstract Time: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Category: Educational Research

  • 1000 Educational Research


  • Shah, Kavya Mehul, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • Zhong, Anthony, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • Taing, Monica, McGill University Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Hsiao, Li-Li, Brigham and Women's Hospital Department of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

End-stage renal disease patients must often decide whether to receive peritoneal dialysis (PD) or hemodialysis (HD), and much of the academic literature has focused on comparing quality of life differences between PD and HD. However, the type of information that patients themselves seek when considering PD is relatively unknown. As more patients utilize the Internet to access health information, understanding PD search trends can help identify areas for targeted improvement in patient education. Here, we address this knowledge gap by characterizing online search data related to PD.


In May 2023, Google search data based on the term “Peritoneal Dialysis” were analyzed using “Search Response” (, a search engine optimization tool. Searches were performed for the most common People Also Ask (PAA) questions against a dataset of over 150 million queries, and the top 100 PAA questions relevant to the “Peritoneal Dialysis” keyword were ranked based on popularity. Two reviewers (AZ and MT) independently grouped the questions into categories adapted from standards in the literature, and a third reviewer (KMS) resolved any discrepancies.


The Search Response tool generated 1,747 PAA questions for “Peritoneal Dialysis.” Coding of the top 100 questions revealed that the greatest number of questions related to Procedure (41) (e.g., “What are the steps in peritoneal dialysis?”), Complications (14) (e.g., “What are the side effects of peritoneal dialysis?”), Definition (10) (e.g., “What are the types of peritoneal dialysis?”), Prognosis (8) (e.g., “How long can you live on peritoneal dialysis?”), Quality of Life (8) (e.g., “Can you swim with a peritoneal dialysis catheter?”), and then Comparison to Other Forms of Dialysis (6) (e.g., “Which is better hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis?”). Thirteen questions were uncategorized (e.g., “How long is training for peritoneal dialysis?”).


The most common theme for questions related to PD was Procedure, which reveals a knowledge gap in the procedural aspects of PD. While it is important to compare different treatment options from a quality of life standpoint, providers should take steps to thoroughly educate patients about the procedural details surrounding PD (e.g., the equipment used or the steps involved in PD) to address patients’ most common questions and informational needs.