BACKGROUND: Obesity is associated with increased mortality and accelerated decline in kidney function in the general population. Little is known about the effect of obesity in younger and older pre-dialysis patients. The aim of this study was to assess the extent to which obesity is a risk factor for death or progression to dialysis in younger and older patients on specialized pre-dialysis care.
METHOD: In a multicenter Dutch cohort study, 492 incident pre-dialysis patients (>18y) were included between 2004-2011 and followed until start of dialysis, death or October 2016. We grouped patients into four categories of baseline body mass index (BMI): <20, 20-24 (reference), 25-29, and ≥30 (obesity) kg/m2 and stratified patients into two age categories (<65y or ≥65y).
RESULTS: The study population comprised 212 patients younger than 65 years and 280 patients 65 years and older; crude cumulative risk of dialysis and mortality at the end of follow-up were 66% and 4% for patients <65y and 64% and 14%, respectively, for patients ≥65y. Among the <65y patients, the age-sex standardized combined outcome rate was 2.3 times higher in obese than those with normal BMI, corresponding to an excess rate of 35 events/100 patient-years. After multivariable adjustment the hazard ratios (HR) (95% CI) for the combined endpoint by category of increasing BMI were, for patients <65y, 0.92 (0.41-2.09), 1 (reference), 1.76 (1.16-2.68), and 1.81 (1.17-2.81). For patients ≥65y the BMI-specific HRs were 1.73 (0.97-3.08), 1 (reference), 1.25 (0.91-1.71) and 1.30 (0.79-1.90). In the competing risk analysis, taking dialysis as the event of interest and death as a competing event, the BMI-specific multivariable adjusted subdistribution HRs (95% CI) were, for patients <65y, 0.90 (0.38-2.12), 1 (reference), 1.47 (0.96-2.24) and 1.72 (1.15-2.59). For patients ≥65y the BMI-specific SHRs (95% CI) were 1.68 (0.93-3.02), 1 (reference), 1.50 (1.05-2.14) and 1.80 (1.23-2.65).
CONCLUSION: We found that obesity in younger pre-dialysis patients and being underweight in older pre-dialysis patients are risk factors for starting dialysis and for death, compared with those with a normal BMI.