OBJECTIVE - End-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients with signs of uremic malnutrition at the time of initiation of maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) are likely to remain malnourished over the subsequent year. Because poor nutritional status is associated with worse clinical outcomes in MHD patients, we hypothesized that ESRD patients with evidence of uremic malnutrition at the time of initiation of MHD would have more hospitalization events compared with patients initiating MHD without signs of malnutrition during the first year of therapy.
DESIGN/INTERVENTION - This was an observational cohort of incident MHD patients, with no specific nutritional intervention.
SETTING - Vanderbilt University Outpatient Dialysis Unit.
PATIENTS - All newly initiated MHD patients at Vanderbilt University Outpatient Dialysis Unit were recruited for study purposes. A total of 149 patients were included in the study.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE - The following parameters were recorded at the time of initiation of MHD: age; race; gender; serum concentrations of albumin, creatinine, cholesterol, and transferrin; and whether the patient had insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. The number of hospital admissions and length of stay in the hospital were recorded for all study patients during the first year of MHD. Associated hospital charges were obtained for a subgroup of 52 patients.
RESULTS - Study variables were associated with hospitalization in the subsequent year, the number of hospital admissions, and the length of stay in the hospital. Patients who initiated MHD in the lowest quartile of serum albumin had a significantly greater average of admissions compared with patients who initiated in the highest quartile (1.77 +/- 1.82 versus 0.72 +/- 0.96 admissions, P =.002). The length of stay in the hospital was also higher in the lowest quartile of serum albumin (8.96 +/- 9.96 versus 3.83 +/- 5.68 days, P =.006). Serum creatinine was also inversely associated with greater average number of admissions (2.27 +/- 2.41 versus 0.83 +/- 1.68 admissions, P =.004) and longer length of stay (12.43 +/- 15.15 versus 4.72 +/- 11.57 days, P =.017) in lowest compared with the highest quartile. In addition, the costs associated with hospitalizations were higher in the group of patients initiating MHD with lower concentrations of serum albumin and serum creatinine.
CONCLUSIONS - In this study of incident MHD patients, the concentrations of 2 nutritional parameters, serum albumin and serum creatinine at the time of initiation of MHD, were significantly and negatively associated with hospitalization events. There was also a trend for greater hospital charges in patients with lower concentrations of serum albumin and creatinine.