The Prevalence of Malnutrition and Associated Factors Among Hemodialysis Patients at Al-Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza Strip, Palestine

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Clinical Nutrition, School of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, International Campus (TUMS- IC), Tehran, Iran


Background and Objectives: Malnutrition is highly prevalent worldwide among hemodialysis patients and is one of the strongest predictors of morbidity and mortality.This study was conducted to estimate the prevalence of malnutrition and to determine the related demographic socioeconomic factors associated with malnutrition indicators among hemodialysis patients at Al-Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza Strip, Palestine.
Methods: This cross sectional study was conducted among sixty hemodialysis patients (both gender, aged 19-59 years on regular hemodialysis for at least six months) receiving care at Al-Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza Strip, Palestine. Patients were assessed using; anthropometric indices, physical examination, biochemical tests and a structured questionnaire. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS version 20.
Findings: Approximately two thirds of hemodialysis patients showed biochemical malnutrition indicators. These includes: hypoalbuminemia 66.7%, low predialysis serum creatinine 65%, low serum cholesterol 61.7% and low Body Mass Index (BMI), where, 45.0% of the patients had BMI less than the recommended BMI (23.8 kg/m²) for hemodialysis patients. Malnourished patients and those with lower serum albumin had significantly higher rate of emergency department visits and number of admission days to the hospitals over a year (P <0.05). The results suggested that the patients were at high risk of morbidity and mortality. Furthermore, we found a significant positive association between age, marital status, monthly income and BMI (P <0.05).
Conclusions: Our results clearly showed that malnutrition is highly prevalent among hemodialysis patients and closely related to morbidity and mortality. Furthermore, sociodemographic and economic factors contribute to this higher percentage of malnutrition.