Enteral tube feeding in a cohort of chronic hemodialysis patients.J Ren Nutr 2002; 12(3):177-82JR
Malnutrition affects up to half of all chronic dialysis patients and is an important predictor of mortality, but the efficacy of interventions designed to improve the nutritional status of dialysis patients has been poorly studied. Specifically, although enteral tube feeding is often cited as an important option in the treatment of malnourished dialysis patients, there are few studies examining the effectiveness and complications of enteral tube feedings in adults on dialysis. We performed a retrospective analysis of a small cohort (n = 10) of chronic hemodialysis patients who received enteral tube feeding as all or part of their nutrition between January 1 and May 1, 1999, with follow-up through May 1, 2000, to assess the efficacy and complications of enteral tube feeding. Six patients received feeding via a peritoneoscopically placed (PEG) tube, 3 via nasogastric (NG) tube, and 1 patient was switched from PEG to NG feeding after an exit site infection developed at her PEG site. Seven patients received enteral feeding because of swallowing difficulties occurring after a cerebrovascular accident. Four patients were fed via enteral tube temporarily (</=4 months); the range of time on enteral feeding was 0.5 to 36 months. Five patients died by study end; only 1 recovered and no longer required enteral feeding. Patients were well dialyzed (median urea reduction rate, 73%). A significant improvement in serum albumin was seen (initial median albumin, 2.8, versus final median albumin, 3.4 g/dL, P =.04). Hypophosphatemia occurred in 8 of the 10 patients, and the nadir median phosphorus level was 1.95 mg/dL. One patient died as a result of an infected PEG. We conclude that enteral tube feeding is an important tool in the treatment of malnourished chronic hemodialysis patients and deserves formal study. Hypophosphatemia commonly occurs, and phosphorus levels should therefore be followed closely when initiating tube feedings in hemodialysis patients. In some cases, a nonrenal enteral formula may be useful for avoiding hypophosphatemia in these patients.