Nutritional status of patients on maintenance hemodialysis at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: a cross-sectional study.

Document Type



Internal Medicine (East Africa)


Background. Patients on hemodialysis therapy are at high risk of malnutrition which is attributed to multiple factors. Protein-energy malnutrition in these patients confers poor clinical outcomes. This study investigated the nutritional status of patients on maintenance hemodialysis at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Methods. A cross-sectional descriptive study was done among 160 adult patients on maintenance hemodialysis therapy. Data concerning patients’ personal, medical, dietary, and hemodialysis-related information were collected. Patients’ anthropometric and laboratory tests (complete blood count, albumin, total cholesterol, creatinine, and urea) were measured. The quantitative Subjective Global Assessment (SGA) dialysis malnutrition score (DMS) was used to assess their nutritional status. Data analysis was done using the SPSS software version 20. Results. Among the 160 hemodialysis patients, 49 (30.6%) were female. Patients’ mean age was 52.2 ± 13.3 years. The median duration on hemodialysis was 18 (8.25–29.75) months. Malnutrition was present in 98 (61.2%) of the patients. Severe malnutrition was found in only 3 (1.9%) patients and 16.9% were underweight. The longer duration on hemodialysis, having diabetes mellitus, and being single were associated with increased risk for malnutrition in multivariate logistic regression. Malnourished patients had significantly lower dry weight, body mass index, mid-upper arm circumference, waist circumference, albumin, total cholesterol, and creatinine levels. Conclusion. Malnutrition is very common among hemodialysis patients at Muhimbili National Hospital, especially those on longer duration of hemodialysis, and diabetic patients. We recommend that hemodialysis patients should be regularly assessed for malnutrition and appropriately treated which if left unattended heralds worse outcomes.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism