To eat or not to eat-international experiences with eating during hemodialysis treatment

Brandon Kistler, Deborah Benner, Mary Burgess, Maria Stasios, Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh, Kenneth R. Wilund

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Providing food or nutrition supplements during hemodialysis (HD) may be associated with improved nutritional status and reduced mortality; however, despite these potential benefits, eating practices vary across countries, regions, and clinics. Understanding present clinic practices and clinician experiences with eating during HD may help outline best practices in this controversial area. Therefore, the objective of this study was to examine clinical practices and experiences related to eating during HD treatment. We surveyed clinicians about their clinic practices during the 2014 International Society of Renal Nutrition and Metabolism Conference. We received 73 responses from six continents. Respondents were primarily dietitians (71%) working at units housed in a hospital (63%). Sixty-one clinics (85%) allowed patients to eat during treatment, with 47 of these patients (65%) actively encouraging eating. Fifty-three clinics (73%) provided food during HD. None of the nine clinics from North America, however, provided food during treatment. The majority (47 clinics; 64%) provided supplements during treatment. Clinics in the hospital setting were more likely to provide food during treatment, whereas outpatient clinics were less likely to provide nutrition supplements (P≤ 0.05 for both). We also asked clinicians about their experience with six commonly cited reasons to restrict eating during treatment using a four-point scale. Clinicians responded they observed the following conditions "rarely" or "never": choking (98%), reduced Kt/V (98%), infection control issues (96%), spills or pests (83%), gastrointestinal issues (71%), and hypotension (62%). Our results indicate that while eating is common during treatment in some areas, disparities may exist in global practices, and most of the proposed negative sequelae of eating during HD are not frequently observed in clinical practice. Whether these disparities in practice can explain global differences in albumin warrants further research to help inform decisions regarding eating during HD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-352
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Renal Nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Nephrology


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