Background: Patients undergoing maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) have a significantly higher prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and malnutrition-inflammation complex syndrome (MICS). In the present study of Taiwanese MHD patients, we determined the clinical characteristics and influence of HCV infection on MICS by calculation of the malnutrition-inflammation score (MIS).
Methods: This was a prospective longitudinal study performed at a single hemodialysis (HD) center in Taiwan from September 2007 through March 2008. The study enrolled 58 patients (38%) in the active HCV group and 95 patients (62%) in the non-HCV group. The two or three weekly HD sessions of all patients were followed for 7 months. The MIS was assessed using 10 components, 7 from the conventional subjective global assessment of nutrition and 3 additional elements, body mass index, serum albumin and total iron-binding capacity.
Results: HD vintage and total MIS score were greater in patients with active HCV. The active HCV group had significantly longer dialysis vintage and lower total cholesterol but higher total MIS score than the non-HCV group. The MIS 5 score, a measure of major comorbid conditions (including number of years on dialysis), was also significantly higher in the active HCV group.
Conclusion: MHD patients with active HCV infections have more severe MICS-associated metabolic and physiological disease than MHD patients without active HCV infection.