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Abstract: SA-PO174

A Pilot Study Characterizing Dysgeusia in Hemodialysis Patients

Session Information

Category: Nutrition, Inflammation, and Metabolism

  • 1401 Nutrition, Inflammation, Metabolism


  • Fitzgerald, Ciara, The Dublin Institute of Technology, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States
  • Moorthi, Ranjani N., Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
  • Moe, Sharon M., Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
  • Hill Gallant, Kathleen M., Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States
  • Running, Cordelia A, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States

Dysgeusia is common in dialysis patients and contributes to poor nutritional intake. But, its underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Studies have shown that taste improves after dialysis sessions, which implicates abnormal serum and salivary parameters as playing a possible role in how dialysis patients perceive taste stimuli. The goal of this pilot study was to characterize altered taste perceptions in dialysis patients compared to healthy adults, and to evaluate relationships between serum levels of potassium, sodium, phosphate, and urea with taste perceptions of these compounds. Our hypotheses were that dialysis patients would have blunted taste compared to controls, and that related serum levels would be inversely related to taste perception of compounds.


Using a cross-sectional design, we performed suprathreshold taste tests of stimuli (NaCl, KCl, CaCl2, NaPO4, FeSO4, H3PO4, MSG, & urea solutions) in hemodialysis patients at a single center(n=16, 10 60±18 y) and healthy adults (n=27, 32±12 y). Participants rated a number of solutions on a 100mm visual analog scale to determine flavor and liking perception and scores were adjusted for each individual’s perception of water. In the dialysis cohort, flavor scores were correlated against serum biochemistries drawn pre-dialysis.


No significant differences were observed between how dialysis patients and controls rated each stimuli for flavor and liking (P=0.9). However, when flavor and liking were adjusted for each individual’s perception of water, significant differences emerged, especially for compounds containing sodium ions (MSG, NaCl & NaPO4) p<0.05. These differences all showed that dialysis patients experience a larger increase in flavor from the stimuli compared to water than the controls. No significant relationships were observed between serum ion levels and taste perceptions in the dialysis patients.


Our results did not support our original hypotheses. Interestingly, dialysis patients appeared to have stronger taste perception of sodium solutions compared with controls. These results should be considered preliminary due to the limited sample size and lack of age-matched controls. Larger, longer term studies are needed to fully evaluate how dysguesia is experienced by CKD patients pre- and post-dialysis using whole foods in addition to isolated compounds.


  • NIDDK Support