More than 20% of patients who died of COVID-19 in Italy had CKD
Chronic kidney disease was present in more than 20% of patients who died of COVID-19 in Italy, according to researchers who presented data at the virtual ERA-EDTA Congress.
“Kidney patients are a very vulnerable group that must be given special protection,” Mario Cozzolino, MD, PhD, FERA, an associate professor in nephrology and chair of nephrology at the School of Medicine, DISS, University of Milan, Italy, said at a press conference.
“Dialysis facilities must adhere to strict hygiene rules and should raise awareness among patients of the significantly higher risk they face. First, we have to take steps to ensure that dialysis patients do not catch the disease and second, infected patients must be handled with care and a special focus must be placed on stopping the spread of the virus.”
The 20% of patients with COVID-19 and CKD was a high percentage, considering that around 50,000 of 60 million Italians are on dialysis, Cozzolino said. Nearly 2% of the COVID-19 victims were dialysis patients.
In Italy, nearly 30,000 patients have died linked to the virus, most of them in the regions of Lombardy (more than 50%) and Emilia Romagna, Cozzolino said. “Looking at the patients’ characteristics it becomes clear that older people, especially, were at high risk of dying of COVID-19,” he said. More than 12,000 of the deceased were aged between 80 years and 89 years, and a total of more than 25,000 of the victims were older than 70 years of age, Cozzolino said. Of the patients with COVID-19 who died, 68.1% had hypertension and 30.5% had diabetes,
The findings also mean that kidney patients and staff on dialysis units must be tested more frequently for COVID-19, he said.
“Although the situation has eased, it is not clear whether a second wave of the disease might occur. We should do everything we can to be prepared for that and to counteract it,” he said.