HEPBURN K1, BERQUIER I1, PURTELL L2,3, KRAMER K4, Bonner A1,3, Healy H1
1Kidney Health Service, Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Brisbane, Australia, 2Research Development Unit, Caboolture Hospital, Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Brisbane, Australia, 3School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, Southport, Australia, 4Palliative and Supportive Care Service, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia
Aim: To examine the prevalence and severity of taste changes experienced by people with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) attending Kidney Supportive Care (KSC) clinics.
Background: People with advanced CKD can have difficulty perceiving sweet, savoury, bitter, sour and salty flavours. Whilst taste changes; including metallic or acidic taste; and loss of taste, are common in CKD; this symptom is often under recognised by clinicians. There is also a paucity of data examining the effect of taste changes on health-related quality of life (HRQOL).
Methods: Retrospective analysis of patients attending KSC clinics between September 2020 and April 2021. Taste changes were rated by patients using a Likert scale, as is used in the Renal Palliative Care Outcome Scale (IPOS-renal). Patients rated how taste changes have affected them over the past seven days. Other symptoms and HRQOL were rated using the validated IPOS renal and EQ-5D-5L. Age, sex, and severity of CKD (eGFR and kidney replacement therapy [KRT]) were also extracted from the clinical record.
Results: A total of 171 patients had taste changes assessed at 235 KSC clinic visits. The median age was 79 years (Interquartile range [IQR] 70-83) and 42% were female. The median eGFR was 14 (IQR 13-18), with 20% receiving KRT. Thirty two percent of patients reported taste changes. Taste changes affected the majority of patients slightly (35%) or moderately (43%). With only 19% experiencing severe taste changes and 7% overwhelming. Poor appetite was concurrently reported with taste changes in 78%.
Conclusions: This study indicates that taste changes are common in patients with advanced CKD attending KSC clinics and highlights the importance of routine assessment of this symptom.
Dr Kirsten Hepburn is a Nephrologist with an interest in Kidney Supportive Care.