Inflammation is considered one of the major causes of protein-energy wasting in maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) patients. It is unclear whether dietary interventions can impact nutritional status and quality of life in MHD patients with elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. Therefore, we examined the hypothesis that supervised intra-dialysis protein supplementation in MHD patients with elevated plasma CRP will improve protein stores and quality of life.
A 24 week, two phase, longitudinal, single center, open labeled study of 50 MHD patients with plasma CRP > 3 mg/L was conducted. During the 12-week observation phase dietary advice was provided to increase protein intake to 1.2 g/kg/day. In the 12-week treatment phase 45 g of liquid protein supplement was provided at each dialysis treatment. Protein nitrogen appearance (PNA), mid-arm muscle circumference (MAMC), serum albumin, body mass index (BMI) and quality of life (assessed by Short Form-12 questionnaire) were measured at baseline, 12 and 24 weeks.
Median plasma CRP at baseline was 16.0 (IQR 7.7 to 25.1) mg/L. The mean MAMC was 26.5 ± 3.9 cm, BMI 29.2 ± 6.9 kg/m 2 and plasma albumin 3.8 ± 0.3 g/dl. During the intervention period, mean PNA increased by 0.13 g/kg/d ( p = 0.01) under a mixed effects model. However, there were no clinically or statistically significant effects on MAMC ( p = 0.87), plasma albumin ( p = 0.70), BMI ( p = 0.09), physical ( p = 0.32) or mental ( p = 0.96) composite scores.
In MHD patients with elevated plasma CRP but otherwise mostly normal nutritional parameters, intra-dialytic oral protein supplement was effective in increasing protein intake but did not provide a detectable impact on nutritional status or quality of life.