Phosphate Knowledge Lacking Among Dialysis Patients

Share this content:

This article is part of our coverage of Renal Week 2009. Click here for a complete list of our Renal Week Live articles.


Key Points

  • Dialysis patients' understanding of issues related to phosphate control needs improvement.
  • Only 40% of patients indicated being very aware of high-phosphate foods; only 29% knew what the target phosphate level should be.
  • Educational tools need to be devised to improve phosphate control, and studies need to examine whether these tools can improve patient outcomes.

SAN DIEGO—Dialysis patients' understanding of issues related to phosphate control needs improvement, a study found.

Peter H. Juergensen, PA, of Metabolism Associates and the Hospital of Saint Raphael in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues administered a questionnaire to 96 dialysis patients (47 hemodialysis and 49 peritoneal dialysis) to assess their knowledge about phosphate. The questionnaire consisted of 20 questions with three domains: diet, patient education, and medication.

With respect to the diet domain, only 40% of patients indicated being very aware of high-phosphate foods. When asked about the phosphate content of specific foods, 87%, 58%, 68%, and 42% of subjects correctly identified dairy, nuts, dark drinks, and meats, respectively, as high-phosphate foods. In addition, 22% thought low-phosphate foods had a high-phosphate content.

In other survey findings, 68% of subjects thought the diet was difficult to understand, 67% reported following their diet most of the time, and 47% reported eating high-phosphate foods at least once in a while.

Regarding education, 53% of subjects reported wanting more education and only 29% knew what the target phosphate level should be. On a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high), the investigators assessed subjects' knowledge of why phosphate control is important. The mean score was 6.26.

Patients reported usually having no difficulty taking, obtaining, or remembering to take their phosphate binders, but 49% indicated that they missed taking their bindings on occasion, and 31% said they did not take binders if they ate outside the home.

The investigators, who presented findings here at the American Society of Nephrology's Renal Week conference, concluded that educational tools need to be devised to improve phosphate control, and studies need to examine whether these tools can improve patient outcomes.

You must be a registered member of Renal and Urology News to post a comment.

Sign Up for Free e-newsletters