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Perit Dial Int. 1996;16 Suppl 1:S526-31.

Nutritional status in children receiving chronic peritoneal dialysis.

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Servizio di Nefrologia, Istituto G. Gaslini, Genova, Italy.


Chronic peritoneal dialysis (CPD), widely used in uremic children, may have contrasting effects on the nutritional status of patients. Metabolic and nutritional abnormalities due to the combined effects of uremia per se, glucose absorption from the dialysate and catabolic factors, such as protein and amino acid losses into dialysate, poor appetite, and recurrent episodes of peritonitis are the most important. Although CPD allows for fewer dietary restrictions and supplies an extra amount of calories by glucose absorbed with the peritoneal fluid, when protein and energy intakes are assessed the protein intake was almost sufficient or more than that prescribed, whereas the energy intake was low. In CPD children the standard deviation score for weight, height, triceps skinfold thickness, and midarm circumference has been reported as more severely impaired in children less than ten years old. Anthropometric parameters did not worsen during CPD treatment. Plasma proteins and albumin are reported as being low in CPD children. The dietary intake and protein losses have been considered to be the most important determinants of the albumin level in CPD patients. The reported average dialysate losses of free amino acids (AA) during CPD in children vary from 0.02 to 0.03 g/kg/day in different studies. The patterns of plasma AA in CPD is represented by reduced levels of branched chain AA and of other essential amino acids and increased concentrations of some nonessential AA. Several factors may influence plasma AA profile: uremia per se, hormonal alterations, protein and AA losses, and dietary intake. A more specific uremic AA pattern is found in muscle, the largest pool of free AA in the body. Studies on muscle AA in adults on CPD are conflicting: some authors have reported several muscle AA alterations, but others have shown an almost normal pattern. Low valine and leucine muscle levels have been reported in children on CPD.

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