Background: Diarrhea is one of the symptoms occasionally seen in patients initiating hemodialysis. When they have diarrhea, they need several additional cares for defecation during the hemodialysis sessions and for infection control at dialysis facilities. Methods: We retrospectively examined the prevalence and the characteristics of the patients with diarrhea initiating hemodialysis. Data were collected from medical records. Results: Of 243 patients who initiated hemodialysis therapy, 46 patients (19%) had diarrhea. The age, gender, and etiology of end-stage renal disease did not differ between the patients with diarrhea and those without diarrhea. Body weight in the patients with diarrhea was lighter than those without diarrhea. The prevalence of concomitant diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, malignancies, and diabetes, was not different between the groups, whereas the patients with diarrhea were complicated more frequently with infectious diseases. Antibiotics and steroids had been used more frequently in the patients with diarrhea (59% and 26%, respectively) than those without diarrhea (10% and 10%, respectively). Inflammatory markers, such as white blood cell numbers, C-reactive protein levels, and body temperature, were significantly higher in the patients with diarrhea. Serum levels of total protein, albumin, and creatinine were significantly lower in the patients with diarrhea, while urea nitrogen levels did not differ between the groups. Conclusion: Results of the present study showed, for the first time, that 19% of the patients initiating hemodialysis had diarrhea and suggest that incident hemodialysis patients with infectious diseases and those under treatment with antibiotics and/or steroids are high-risk for diarrhea.
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