A valid diet quality assessment scale has not been investigated in hemodialysis patients. We aimed to adapt and validate the alternative healthy eating index in hemodialysis patients (AHEI-HD), and investigate its associations with all-cause mortality. A prospective study was conducted on 370 hemodialysis patients from seven hospital-based dialysis centers. Dietary data (using three independent 24-hour dietary records), clinical and laboratory parameters were collected. The construct and criterion validity of original AHEI-2010 with 11 items and the AHEI-HD with 16 items were examined. Both scales showed reasonable item-scale correlations and satisfactory discriminant validity. The AHEI-HD demonstrated a weaker correlation with energy intake compared with AHEI-2010. Principle component analysis yielded the plateau scree plot line in AHEI-HD but not in AHEI-2010. In comparison with patients in lowest diet quality (tertile 1), those in highest diet quality (tertile 3) had significantly lower risk for death, with a hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) of HR: 0.40; 95%CI: 0.18 - 0.90; p = 0.028, as measured by AHEI-2010, and HR: 0.37; 95%CI: 0.17-0.82; p = 0.014 as measured by AHEI-HD, respectively. In conclusion, AHEI-HD was shown to have greater advantages than AHEI-2010. AHEI-HD was suggested for assessments of diet quality in hemodialysis patients.
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