Background: Although serum prealbumin is considered a valid indicator of nutritional status in hemodialysis patients, there is relatively little evidence that its determination is of major prognostic significance. In this study, we aimed to determine the independent association of serum prealbumin with survival in hemodialysis patients, after adjusting for serum albumin and other indicators of protein energy nutritional status.
Methods: Serum prealbumin was measured in more than 1600 maintenance hemodialysis patients. We determined the correlations among prealbumin and other indicators of nutritional status, including serum albumin, and bioimpedance-derived indicators of body composition. The relationship between serum prealbumin and survival was determined using proportional hazards regression.
Results: The serum albumin was directly correlated with the serum prealbumin (r = 0.47, P < 0.0001), but still explained <25% of the variability in prealbumin. Prealbumin was inversely related to mortality, with a relative risk reduction of 6% per 1 mg/dL increase in prealbumin, even after adjusting for case mix, serum albumin, and other nutritional indicators. The increase in risk with lower serum prealbumin concentrations was observed whether the serum albumin was high or low.
Conclusion: In hemodialysis patients, the serum prealbumin provides prognostic value independent of the serum albumin and other established predictors of mortality in this population.