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J Ren Nutr. 1999 Jan;9(1):14-20.

Reported pica behavior in a sample of incident dialysis patients.

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Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


In a prospective study, pica behavior was investigated during baseline interviews with a cohort of incident patients (n = 226) who began chronic dialysis therapy in metropolitan Atlanta, GA, during 1996 to 1997. Pica, defined as current pica behavior and/or reported history of pica behavior, was reported by 16% of the sample. Patients reporting pica were significantly more likely to be African American women and were significantly younger than the remainder of the sample. Approximately two thirds of patients who reported pica behaviors craved and excessively consumed ice; the remainder craved and consumed starch, dirt, flour, or aspirin. Among patients reporting pica, average serum albumin values were low and average phosphorus was increased. The average hematocrit of patients reporting ice pica was low. Over half of the hemodialysis patients reporting pica behavior had excessive usual interdialytic weight gain. Potential symptoms/problems affecting quality of life among patients practicing pica, eg, cramps, are shown in a case report. The data indicate the need for targeted education and support for dietitians' increased interaction with dialysis patients involved in pica behaviors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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