Background: Protein-energy malnutrition is a strong predictor of mortality in maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) patients. This association has generally been described for serum chemistry measures of protein-energy malnutrition. We hypothesized that body weight-for-height relationships also predict survival in MHD patients.
Methods: During the last three months of 1993, data were obtained on 12,965 men and women concerning clinical characteristics (height, postdialysis weight, age, gender, race, and presence or absence of diabetes mellitus) and laboratory measurements (predialysis serum albumin, creatinine and cholesterol, and the urea reduction ratio). Patient survival during the next 12 months was evaluated retrospectively.
Results: In comparison to values for normal Americans determined from the National Health and Nutrition Evaluation Survey II data, weight-for-height relationships tended to be slightly lower than normal in African American men and women and Caucasian men undergoing MHD and were normal or slightly greater in the taller Caucasian women. In both men and women, the mortality rate decreased progressively as the patients' weight-for-height increased. MHD patients who weighed more than normal had the lowest mortality rates. After adjustment for clinical characteristics and laboratory measurements, the inverse relationship between mortality rates and weight-for-height percentiles was still highly significant for patients within the lower 50th percentile of body weight-for-height. Serum albumin correlated directly with weight-for-height in patients in the lower 50th percentile of weight-for-height. Serum creatinine and cholesterol correlated directly with weight-for-height in the entire population of men and women. In contrast, the urea reduction ratio was inversely correlated with weight-for-height.
Conclusions: These data indicate that weight-for-height is a strong predictor of 12-month mortality in male and female MHD patients. Multivariate analyses indicate that body weight-for-height is an independent predictor of higher mortality in those patients who are in the lower 50th percentile for this measurement.