Background: Malnutrition is a common problem in dialysis patients and may affect up to one-third of patients. Near-infrared interactance (NIR) is a novel approach to estimate body composition and per cent total body fat.
Methods: We used near-infrared interactance (Futrex 5000) to estimate the body composition including body fat percentage, as well as subjective global assessment (SGA), anthropometric measurements including mid-arm circumference (MAC), triceps and biceps skinfold thickness, calculated mid-arm muscle circumference (MAMC), body mass index (BMI), and laboratory values. NIR score, SGA assessment and anthropometric parameters were measured shortly after the end of a dialysis session. NIR measurement was made by placing a Futrex sensor on the nonaccess upper arm for several seconds. Serum albumin, transferrin (reflected by total iron binding capacity), and total cholesterol concentrations were performed as well.
Results: Thirty-four patients (20 men and 14 women) were selected from a pool of 120 haemodialysis patients. Their ages ranged from 26 to 86 years (58+/-14 years). Time on dialysis ranged from 8 months to 19 years (4.5+/-4.6 years). NIR scores were significantly different in three SGA groups: (A) well-nourished, 32.5+/-6.9%; (B) mildly to moderately malnourished, 29.2+/-5.3%; and (C) severely malnourished, 23.2+/-10.2% (P<0.001). Pearson correlation coefficients (r) between the NIR score and nutritionally relevant parameters were significant (P<0.001) for body mass index (r=+0.81), mid-arm circumference (r=+0.74), triceps skin fold (r=+0.54), biceps skin fold (r=+0.55), and mid-arm muscle circumference (r=+0.54). An inverse correlation was also found between NIR and years dialysed (r=-0.49, P=0.004), denoting a lesser body fat percentage according to NIR for patients dialysed longer. NIR was correlated with serum transferrin (r=+0.41, P=0.016) and cholesterol (r=+0.39, P=0.022) and marginally with serum albumin (r=+0.29, P=0.097).
Conclusions: We conclude that NIR, which can be performed within seconds, may serve as an objective indicator of nutritional status in haemodialysis patients. More comparative and longitudinal studies are needed to confirm the validity of NIR measurements in nutritional evaluation of dialysis patients.