Malnutrition is common in chronic hemodialysis (CHD) patients and is strongly related to increased morbidity and mortality. Among the various approaches to treat malnutrition in this patient population, intradialytic parenteral nutrition (IDPN) is the treatment of choice for a small but important percentage of malnourished CHD patients. However, the new revised policies relating to IDPN reimbursement by Medicare in the US have made it very difficult to qualify patients for this potentially useful therapy. This restrictive policy was adopted mainly because there are no clear data that support IDPN use or efficacy. Studies to date in the literature do not provide clear documentation of the benefits of IDPN or their cost-effectiveness. The purpose of this review is to critically evaluate studies relating to the use of IDPN as a potential therapy to treat malnutrition in CHD patients and to discuss potential trials to prove its cost-effectiveness.

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