Abdominal pain with a discoloured dialysate in a patient on peritoneal dialysis (PD) is usually attributed to infective peritonitis. Although acute pancreatitis (AP) is not usually a complication of end-stage renal disease, some studies suggest an increased risk especially in patients on PD. We report a case of idiopathic AP in a 41-year-old female on PD who presented with abdominal pain, fever, vomiting and a clear dark dialysate. Initial diagnosis of PD-associated infective peritonitis was made but dialysate cultures proved negative. Serum amylase showed a mild rise and computed tomography revealed necrotising pancreatitis. No common risk factors for AP were identified and she was successfully treated with conservative therapy. A literature review was carried out using a PubMed search with the words ‘acute pancreatitis and peritoneal dialysis’. The literature search found a total of 94 cases of AP in the setting of PD. In more than a quarter, no cause for AP was found. Serum amylase was normal in 12.8% of episodes. Complications developed in 25 cases, and 28 patients died from the condition. Therefore, AP can be a rare, but serious complication of PD with a high mortality and must be considered in the differential diagnosis of abdominal pain in a PD patient.