Peritoneal Dialysis Color Coding

A quick one before the July 4th Weekend…

Peritoneal dialysis solutions are often color-coded based on the dextrose concentration. Dextrose is used as the osmotically-active agent. As it is partially absorbed, patients with diabetes have to watch out for elevated blood sugars. In addition, diabetic patients with extremely elevated blood sugars (e.g., in DKA for instance) will have a decreased gradient for ultrafiltration so it is especially important to keep their blood glucose under control.

Anyways, it’s important to know the color codes since often the patients will know they take 2 green and 2 yellow bags but not know the dextrose concentrations.

Yellow = 1.5% dextrose
Green = 2.5% dextrose
Red = 4.25% dextrose


  1. One item that sometimes confuses people: The 1.5%, 2.5%, and 4.25% can all be compared to each other in terms of osmotic strength since the are all glucose-based. The purple bag, though it is a "7.5%" solution, is not on the same scale (since the molecular weight of icodextrin is higher than glucose, and these are weight/vol %). I don't recall exactly, but I think the initial osmolality of the icodextran is similar to the 1.5%, or even less (though it has a different pattern of change over time).

  2. The purple or 7.5 is icodextrin which is used for pd patients who absorb their fluid. Unlike the dexrose solution the purple is a potassium solution where your body can't absorb the fluid. Pd patient.

  3. What for and when is the purple bag for?

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