New studies show surge of kidney failure in COVID-19 patients

Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 5:55 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 6, 2020 at 7:56 AM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - New studies show kidney disease is increasing due to new found complications of COVID-19.

About 40 million people in the United States have chronic kidney disease. It is the ninth leading cause of death in the country and now it could increase.

“That’s before COVID-19 and contributed to this huge surge that we’ve never seen in a lifetime of chronic kidney disease,” said Dr. Fares Khater, Chief of Infectious disease at Appalachian Regional Medical Center.

Dr. Khater says studies are showing at least 25 to 45 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are losing kidney function.

“People who are in the ICU around 60 percent of those can develop acute kidney injury,” said Dr. Khater.

Up to 50 percent of those patients require dialysis while in the hospital.

One-third of patients recovered from COVID-19 still have abnormal kidney function after they leave the hospital, which requires lifelong care.

“That number would be in the hundreds of thousands,” said Dr. Khater.

COVID-19 affects the kidneys in many ways including inflammation, blood clots and damage to the inner lining of the blood vessel that goes to the kidney.

“It has implications because they have to go on dialysis or RRT renal replacement therapy,” said Dr. Khater.

The Mount Sinai Health System in New York launched a study this month called MASKED-COVID. The study is diving into what the long term effects on these patients could look like.

“Following who stays in what we call acute kidney injury which is an initial insult to the kidney, who goes on to develop chronic kidney disease which is a diseased kidney or end-stage kidney disease which requires dialysis,” said Dr. Khater.

They hope to see some results by the end of this year and even more next year.

“I mean we’ve been treating viral infections and seen viral infections for me at least for two decades and I haven’t seen a virus so unpredictable and involving so many systems in the body like COVID-19 and the research keeps on coming every day there’s something new,” said Dr. Khater.

Dr. Khater also told WYMT COVID-19 affects the liver. He says high liver enzymes are an indication a patient could have COVID-19.

Copyright 2020 WYMT. All rights reserved.

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