Background: Evaluation of nutritional risk, one of the strongest predictors of morbidity and mortality in maintenance haemodialysis (HD) patients, is a difficult process especially in patients with compounding conditions that prevent subjective assessment by subjective global assessment or malnutrition-inflammation score (MIS).
Methods: In this study, we developed and characterized a score for the assessment of nutritional status in dialysis patients based solely on objectively measurable criteria. Our prospective observational cohort included 81 prevalent HD patients (53 men and 28 women) with a mean age of 64.3 +/- 11.9 years. The study period encompassed 26.9 +/- 14.3 months. The quantitative and comprehensive scoring system, named Objective Score of Nutrition on Dialysis (OSND), was calculated by combining anthropometric measurements (the change in end-dialysis dry weight in the past 3-6 months, body mass index, skinfold thickness and mid-arm circumference) with three laboratory tests: albumin, transferrin and cholesterol levels. The sum of all seven components of OSND results in a score from 5 (severely malnourished) to 32 (normal). We compared our OSND system with the accepted MIS and phase angle (PA) measurements derived by bioelectric impedance analysis.
Results: The OSND correlated significantly with hospitalization days (r = -0.334; P = 0.002) and frequency of hospitalization (r = -0.373; P = 0.001), as well as with lean body mass and fat mass, MIS, PA and interleukin-6 levels. The Cox proportional hazard-calculated relative risk for death for each five-unit decrease in the OSND was 2.2 (95% CI, 1.3 to 3.8; P = 0.003) comparable with the predictions provided by MIS [for each five-unit increase in MIS, hazard ratio (HR) was 1.8 with 95% CI, 1.2 to 2.8; P = 0.007] and PA (for each 1-unit decrease in PA, HR was 2.9 with 95% CI, 1.5 to 5.6; P = 0.001).
Conclusions: The OSND thus provides a comprehensive scoring system with significant associations with prospective hospitalization and mortality in chronic HD patients as well as measures of nutrition and inflammation.