Nutritional status of renal transplant patients
Objective. To assess the effect of renal transplantation on the nutritional status of patients.
Design. Prospective descriptive study.
Setting. Renal Transplant Clinic at Tygerberg Hospital, Western Cape.
Subjects. Fifty-eight renal transplant patients from Tygerberg Hospital were enrolled in the study. The sample was divided into two groups of 29 patients each: group 1, less than 28 months post-transplant; and group 2, more than 28 months post-transplant.
Outcome measures. Nutritional status assessment comprised biochemical evaluation, a dietary history, anthropometric measurements and a clinical examination.
Results. Serum vitamin B6 levels were below normal in 56% of patients from group 1 and 59% from group 2. Vitamin B6 intake, however, was insufficient in only 14% of patients from group 1and10% from group 2. Serum vitamin C levels were below normal in 7% of patients from group 1 and 24% from group 2, while vitamin C intake was insufficient in 21%and14% of patients from groups 1 and 2 respectively. Serum magnesium levels were below normal in 55% of patients from group 1, and in 28% from group 2. Serum albumin and cholesterol levels increased significantly during the post-transplant period in the total sample (P = 0.0001). There was also a significant increase in body mass index (P = 0.0001) during the post-transplant period.
Conclusions. Several nutritional abnormalities were observed, which primarily reflect the side-effects of immunosuppressive therapy. The causes, consequences and treatment of the vitamin B6 and vitamin C deficiencies in renal transplant recipients need further investigation.