Objective: To assess the relationship between nutritional status and quality of life in a sample of chronic hemodialysis patients.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting: Haemodialysis Units of St Vincent's and St George Hospitals, Sydney, Australia.
Patients: Sixty-four patients participated in the nutritional assessment, of which 53 completed the quality of life questionnaire.
Intervention: Nutritional status was assessed using subjective global assessment in addition to a number of anthropometric and biochemical parameters. Quality of life was assessed by means of a patient questionnaire and assessment of physical functioning.
Main outcome measures: Nutrition status, 6 quality of life subscales related to general well-being, health and functioning, social and economic, psychological/spiritual well-being, and family life, employment status, income, participation in recreational/sports activities, the number of hospital admissions, days of hospitalization, and lengths of hospital stay.
Results: Sixty-four percent of patients were well nourished, 23% were moderately malnourished, and 13% were severely malnourished. Malnutrition was associated with poorer subjective quality after controlling for the affects of sociodemographic and medical variables. Severe malnutrition was also independently associated with poorer physical function, and resulted in significantly more hospital admissions, more days of hospitalization, and longer average lengths of hospital stay.
Conclusion: Malnutrition is common in chronic hemodialysis patients and is associated with poorer quality of life when the degree of malnutrition becomes severe. Prospective studies are required to determine whether improving the nutritional status of these patients will result in meaningful improvements in quality of life and other medical outcomes.