Diet or dialysis in the elderly? The DODE study: A prospective randomized multicenter trial

R. Maiorca, G. Brunori, B. F. Viola, R. Zubani, G. Cancarini, G. Parrinello, A. DeCarli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There are no solid data on the real advantage of an early start of dialysis, as suggested by the DOQI guidelines. Uremic patients frequently have a poor nutritional status. However, we cannot distinguish between the detrimental effect on nutrition of too low a residual renal function or too long a period of low protein-diet, per se. However, it appears that a very-low-protein diet (VLPD) supplemented with essential amino acids and keto-analogs of amino acids, and with an adequate quantity of calories, can prevent hypoalbuminemia at the start of dialysis and can slow the progression of chronic renal failure. EDTA and USRDS data suggest that most patients starting dialysis nowadays are elderly, who also have the highest incidence of morbidity and mortality. Moreover, hospitalization rate becomes higher after the start of dialysis compared to the pre-dialysis period. Can an aminoacid-supplemented VLPD, prolonged beyond the GFR limits suggested by DOQI, offer elderly patients better survival and better quality of life than dialysis? The answer can only come from a prospective, randomized trial, in elderly patients, starting at the GFR values suggested by the NKF-DOQI for starting dialysis, comparing outcomes with a vegetarian VLPD supplemented with a mixture of keto-analogs of amino acids and essential amino acids, and with dialysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-270
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Nephrology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Dialysis
  • Elderly
  • Morbidity
  • Mortality
  • Supplemented very-low-protein diet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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