Morbidity of COVID-19 in Kidney Transplant Patients
Kidney transplant patients are vulnerable to severe COVID-19 infection due to chronic immunosuppression and underlying chronic conditions. Many of these chronic conditions cause kidney failure which leads to kidney transplantation.
A multicenter study conducted between March 2 - May 15, 2020, shows that kidney transplant recipients hospitalized with COVID-19 infection are at high risk for acute kidney injury and death.
A 9-week study was conducted at 12 transplant centers in the US, Italy, and Spain.
- 144 kidney transplant patients were hospitalized for COVID-19 infection.
- Notable outcomes were acute kidney injury in half, respiratory failure in 29%, and death in 32% during a median follow-up of 52 days.
- Death was more likely with advanced age, and not with a particular anti-rejection medication.
- Those who died also had lower lymphocyte counts and estimated renal function, and higher serum lactate dehydrogenase, procalcitonin, and interleukin-6 levels.
- These patients had a high incidence of underlying conditions: high blood pressure in 95%, diabetes or obesity in half, heart disease in a fourth, and lung disease in a fifth.
The results of this study are pertinent to an earlier phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow-up reports can help define whether antiviral drugs, convalescent plasma, and dexamethasone have improved outcomes of COVID-19 in this vulnerable population.