Global Prevalence of Protein-Energy Wasting in Kidney Disease: A Meta-analysis of Contemporary Observational Studies From the International Society of Renal Nutrition and Metabolism

J Ren Nutr. 2018 Nov;28(6):380-392. doi: 10.1053/j.jrn.2018.08.006.


Objective: To better define the prevalence of protein-energy wasting (PEW) in kidney disease is poorly defined.

Methods: We performed a meta-analysis of PEW prevalence from contemporary studies including more than 50 subjects with kidney disease, published during 2000-2014 and reporting on PEW prevalence by subjective global assessment or malnutrition-inflammation score. Data were reviewed throughout different strata: (1) acute kidney injury (AKI), (2) pediatric chronic kidney disease (CKD), (3) nondialyzed CKD 3-5, (4) maintenance dialysis, and (5) subjects undergoing kidney transplantation (Tx). Sample size, period of publication, reporting quality, methods, dialysis technique, country, geographical region, and gross national income were a priori considered factors influencing between-study variability.

Results: Two studies including 189 AKI patients reported a PEW prevalence of 60% and 82%. Five studies including 1776 patients with CKD stages 3-5 reported PEW prevalence ranging from 11% to 54%. Finally, 90 studies from 34 countries including 16,434 patients on maintenance dialysis were identified. The 25th-75th percentiles range in PEW prevalence among dialysis studies was 28-54%. Large variation in PEW prevalence across studies remained even when accounting for moderators. Mixed-effects meta-regression identified geographical region as the only significant moderator explaining 23% of the observed data heterogeneity. Finally, two studies including 1067 Tx patients reported a PEW prevalence of 28% and 52%, and no studies recruiting pediatric CKD patients were identified.

Conclusion: By providing evidence-based ranges of PEW prevalence, we conclude that PEW is a common phenomenon across the spectrum of AKI and CKD. This, together with the well-documented impact of PEW on patient outcomes, justifies the need for increased medical attention.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Comorbidity
  • Humans
  • Internationality
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Prevalence
  • Protein-Energy Malnutrition / epidemiology*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Societies, Medical