Assessment of nutritional status in children with chronic kidney disease and on dialysis

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Protein-energy wasting (PEW) is defined as a state of decreased body protein mass and fuel reserves (body protein and fat mass) and is a common complication of chronic kidney disease (CKD). It is multifactorial: the main causative factors are hormonal imbalances and a low nutrient intake, but low residual renal function, inadequate dialysis dose, chronic inflammation and metabolic acidosis are other important contributory factors. Adult PEW has been defined, but there is no accepted definition of pediatric PEW and consequently no precise diagnostic criteria. Assessing nutritional status in children is also complicated by the absence of a gold standard, specific abnormalities in body composition, and the slowly progressive course of the disease. The evaluation of PEW should take into account all of its pathogenetic aspects, which include dietary assessment, clinical and anthropometric assessment (based on weight, height, and body mass index), a panel of biochemical parameters, and a normalized protein catabolic rate (in the case of adolescents on hemodialysis). Bioimpedance indices can be used in individual patients on a regular basis in centers with expertise. The longitudinal follow-up data relating to the above parameters are valuable for comparing patient and normative data. Given the complex nature of PEW, only a multidisciplinary approach can provide an accurate assessment of nutritional status and its derangements in children with CKD and on dialysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1349-1358
Number of pages10
JournalPediatric Nephrology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Nutritional assessment
  • Nutritional status
  • Protein-energy wasting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Medicine(all)


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