The impact of visceral mass on survival in chronic hemodialysis patients

Int J Artif Organs. 2007 Nov;30(11):993-9. doi: 10.1177/039139880703001108.


In chronic hemodialysis, patient survival is positively correlated with body weight and body mass index (BMI). This relationship extends even to obese patients with a BMI >30 kg/m2. We have put forward the hypothesis that this survival benefit may be due to a lower average synthesis rate of uremic toxins (expressed as amount per time per unit of body weight) in larger patients, because the relative contribution of the high metabolic rate organs (HMRO) to body weight in these patients is lower and HMRO are most likely to be the prime source of uremic toxins. In addition, the average uremic toxin concentration in larger patients may be lower because of the larger distribution volume. Based on these assumptions, a better survival in patients with a lower HMRO to body weight fraction (HMRO%BW) can be predicted. To test this hypothesis we estimated gender- and race-specific HMRO mass by means of recently published regression models in 2,004 incident hemodialysis patients. Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess the association between age, serum albumin concentration, eKt/V, and HMRO% BW and mortality. High HMRO%BW was significantly associated with increased mortality (hazard ratio 1.323 [95% CI: 1.186 to 1.477]). Mean survival time was longest in the low HMRO%BW tertile (1,031 days [95%CI: 974 to 1,087]), 935 days [95%CI: 886 to 984] in the middle, and 876 days [95%CI: 825 to 926] in the high HMRO%BW tertile (p<0.0001; log rank test). These results support the hypothesis predicting that a low HMRO mass per unit of weight confers a beneficial effect on survival.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Body Weight
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / complications*
  • Kidney Diseases / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Size
  • Renal Dialysis*