Protein Energy Wasting (PEW) in hemodialysis (HD) patients is a multifactorial condition due to specific pathology-related pathogenetic mechanisms, leading to loss of skeletal muscle mass in HD patients. Computed Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging still represent the gold standard techniques for body composition assessment. However, their widespread application in clinical practice is difficult and body composition evaluation in HD patients is mainly based on conventional anthropometric nutritional indexes and bioelectrical impedance vector analysis (BIVA). Little data is currently available on ultrasound (US)-based measurements of muscle mass and fat tissue in this clinical setting. The purpose of our study is to ascertain: (1) if there are differences between quadriceps rectus femoris muscle (QRFM) thickness and abdominal/thigh subcutaneous fat tissue (SFT) measured by US between HD patients and healthy subjects; (2) if there is any correlation between QRFM and abdominal/thigh SFT thickness by US, and BIVA/conventional nutritional indexes in HD patients. We enrolled 65 consecutive HD patients and 33 healthy subjects. Demographic and laboratory were collected. The malnutrition inflammation score (MIS) was calculated. Using B-mode US system, the QRFM and SFT thicknesses were measured at the level of three landmarks in both thighs (superior anterior iliac spine, upper pole of the patella, the midpoint of the tract included between the previous points). SFT was also measured at the level of the periumbilical point. The mono frequency (50 KHz) BIVA was conducted using bioelectrical measurements (Rz, resistance; Xc, reactance; adjusted for height, Rz/H and Xc/H; PA, phase angle). 58.5% were men and the mean age was 69 (SD 13.7) years. QRFM and thigh SFT thicknesses were reduced in HD patients as compared to healthy subjects (p < 0.01). Similarly, also BIVA parameters, expression of lean body mass, were lower (p < 0.001), except for Rz and Rz/H in HD patients. The average QRFM thickness of both thighs at top, mid, lower landmarks were positively correlated with PA and body cell mass (BCM) by BIVA, while negatively correlated with Rz/H (p < 0.05). Abdominal SFT was positively correlated with PA, BCM and basal metabolic rate (BMR) (p < 0.05). Our study shows that ultrasound QRFM and thigh SFT thicknesses were reduced in HD patients and that muscle ultrasound measurements were significantly correlated with BIVA parameters.
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