Objective: To determine the quality of life implications of inadequate protein nutrition among hemodialysis patients.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting: All 22 chronic hemodialysis units in northeast Ohio.
Patients: There were 289 randomly selected patients.
Intervention: Interview and chart abstraction.
Main outcome measures: Six quality of life subscales related to general health, physical function, social function, symptoms, burden of kidney disease, and employment status.
Results: Low albumin levels were independently associated with decreased physical function, social function, and burden of kidney disease scores after adjustment for patient age, race, gender, health insurance, cause of renal failure, years on dialysis, and number of comorbid conditions. Low protein catabolic rate was independently associated with decreased physical function scores and with being retired or disabled.
Conclusion: Inadequate protein nutrition is independently associated with poor quality of life. Further study is needed to develop interventions to overcome barriers to protein nutrition and to determine the effect of such interventions on protein nutrition and patient quality of life.