The prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with chronic renal failure is increased and associated with impaired psychological general well-being

Hans Strid*, Magnus Simrén, Ann Cathrine Johansson, Jan Svedlund, Ola Samuelsson, Einar S. Björnsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Malnutrition occurs frequently in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms may lead to reduced food intake, resulting in malnutrition and impaired well-being in these patients. The prevalence of GI symptoms in various chronic renal failure (CRF) groups is unexplored. We assessed the prevalence of GI complaints in patients on either haemodialysis (HD), peritoneal dialysis (PD), or in the pre-dialysis stage. Patients with and without diabetic nephropathy were also compared. Methods. A total of 233 patients with CRF (128 HD, 55 PD, and 50 pre-dialytic patients) completed two self-administered questionnaires: the Psychological General Well-Being (PGWB) index and the Gastro-intestinal Symptom Rating Scale (GSRS), which measures GI symptoms. The values were compared with reference values obtained from the general population. The association between GI symptoms and serum (s-)albumin was also studied. Results. The total GSRS score in patients with CRF was significantly higher than the reference values (HD 2.14 (1.97-2.31), PD 2.24 (2.00-2.48), and pre-dialytic patients 2.03 (1.82-2.25) vs controls 1.53 (1.50-1.55; P<0.001). When comparing CRF subgroups there was no overall difference between the groups, but PD patients had more severe reflux and eating dysfunction. In patients with diabetic nephropathy, only eating dysfunction was significantly more common than in the non-diabetic patients. There was a negative correlation between GI symptoms and psychological general well-being in CRF patients (Rho = - 0.46, P < 0.001) indicating that patients with a high GI symptom profile have impaired psychological general well-being. A negative correlation was found between eating dysfunction and s-albumin (Rho = - 0.33, P < 0.01). Conclusion. The prevalence of GI symptoms is high in patients with CRF and is associated with impairment in psychological general well-being. Presence of dialysis or not, type of dialysis, and presence or absence of diabetes mellitus seem to have limited impact on GI symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1434-1439
Number of pages6
JournalNephrology Dialysis Transplantation
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements. This study was supported by the Swedish Medical Research Council (Grants 8288 and 13409), and the Faculty of Medicine, University of Göteborg.

Other keywords

  • Chronic renal failure
  • End-stage renal disease
  • Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Psychological general well-being


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