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Kidney issues and COVID-19: Mitigating the impact

It is now a proven fact that the COVID-19 virus, which has led to the ongoing global pandemic, causes damage to the lungs. With more understanding of the disease over the last few months, scientists and researchers have now surmised that the virus can also cause severe and lasting damage on other organs, including the kidneys and heart. Kidney health experts at AMRI Hospitals explain how the new Coronavirus might affect kidney function, as the virus spreads through a body and even after treatment, as a person recovers.

Individuals living with kidney disease, especially patients on dialysis and transplant recipients, appear to be at a higher risk of severe infection and mortality from COVID-19. Acute kidney failure in COVID-19 patients is considered complex as it involves several factors not typically seen in a patient of acute kidney illness. These unique symptoms include a tendency to form blood clots and the formation of active mediators of inflammation.

As suggested by health practitioners at AMRI Hospitals, Kolkata, acute kidney failure or acute kidney injury (AKI) – is a serious complication of COVID-19 that has gone mostly underreported and not well understood. Doctors stated that around 25% to 30% of COVID-19 patients in hospitals, especially those in ICU, are at risk of AKI. The kidney damage is, in some cases, severe enough to require dialysis.

To avert such complications, certain hospitals and dialysis centres have started to follow the mentioned protocols:

  • Check and follow-up with all patients, including home dialysis patients, staff, and visitors, who may have had contact with the Coronavirus, or with people who have symptoms of COVID-19

  • In some centres, patients with respiratory symptoms may be put on dialysis in a separate area

  • Communicate often and openly with patients, their family members and and other care givers, to meet the needs of each patient

  • Call your local or state health department if the dialysis centre has a very high number of patients with respiratory illness

What can you do to stay safe?

A common advice given to kidney patients from doctors at the leading hospital in Kolkata, AMRI Hospitals, is that if there is a virus outbreak in your area and you need to decrease your risk of getting sick, it’s important that you have shelf-stable food items in your home. It’s important to prepare now by stocking up 2-3 weeks’ worth of healthy, kidney friendly foods, fresh water, and medicines.