The mortality rate of dialysis patients is still considerably high. Beside the traditional risk factors, specific uremia-related risk factors are identified. Among them, hypoalbuminemia and malnutrition have a strong association to mortality in chronic dialysis patients. Various studies document a strong relation between reduced calorie and protein uptake and mortality in uremic patients. Several factors responsible for malnutrition in dialysis patients have been identified. These factors may be dialysis-associated, due to intercurrent illnesses or are associated with uremic complications (e.g. hyperparathyroidism, anemia, acidosis, etc.). Malnutrition is treatable and can be avoided by several means. Beside the increase in the dose of dialysis and adequate protein and calorie intake, intradialytic nutrition is an additional choice. The combination with specific drugs (e.g. growth hormone) may potentiate the success of the modified treatment modalities, particularly in patients who need nutritional support during an intercurrent illness. Further studies are required to measure the impact of for example growth hormone supplementation on mortality rate and quality of life in malnourished patients on chronic dialysis.
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