Patients on maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) have worse physical functionthan elderly non-hemodialysis (non-HD) patients independent of musclemass and co-morbidity, researchersreported online ahead of print in theJournal of Renal Nutrition.

A team led by Srinivasan Beddhu,MD, of the University of Utah School ofMedicine in Salt Lake City, compared108 MHD and 122 elderly non-HD patients.They used magnetic resonanceimage to measure subjects’ mid-thighmuscle area and evaluated physicalfunctioning by measuring the distancesubjects walked in 6 minutes. 

Althoughthe MHD patients had a greater mid-thigharea than the elderly group, theywalked a significant 117 meters lessthan the elderly group after adjustingfor mid-thigh muscle area, comorbidconditions, and demographics.

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