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Nutrition. 2012 Oct;28(10):1012-5. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2012.01.008. Epub 2012 May 1.

Effect of intensive nutritional counseling and support on clinical outcomes of hemodialysis patients.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.



Protein-energy wasting is frequently found in patients on hemodialysis (HD). Anorexia and hypophagia contribute to malnutrition and increased morbidity and mortality, but the clinical impact of correcting hypophagia remains uncertain. We evaluated whether the correction of hypophagia influences morbidity and mortality in anorexic patients on HD.


Thirty-four patients on HD were enrolled in a 2-y follow-up program including regular nutritional assessments. Patients not meeting the nutritional requirements during the follow-up received nutritional counseling, consisting of advice, individually tailored diets, and, for a failed dietary intervention, artificial nutrition. Biochemical, anthropometric, and body composition parameters, morbidity, and mortality were recorded in all patients at 12 and 24 mo.


At baseline, 14 patients (41%) were anorexic, and 20 patients (59%) were non-anorexic. Anorexic patients were hypophagic and presented with a decreased fat-free mass. After 12 and 24 mo, cholesterol, albumin, lymphocyte count, and body mass index did not differ between the groups, whereas fat-free mass (percentage) in supplemented anorexic patients significantly improved in no longer differing from non-anorexic patients (65.8 ± 4.4 versus 65.4 ± 8.9, respectively, P = NS; 65.8 ± 4.4 versus 66.7 ± 10.78, respectively, P = NS). Morbidity and mortality were not different between the two groups.


In patients on HD, nutritional counseling and nutritional support positively affect the nutritional status in hypophagic patients and make the risk of morbidity and mortality in anorexic patients comparable to those of non-anorexic patients.

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