Healthcare professionals in new York City dealing with COVID-19 patients are now faced with an unexpected crisis: a surge in kidney failure. Critical care specialists are now seeing acute kidney injury far beyond the patients who were predisposed to kidney disease because of morbidities like hypertension or diabetes.
Currently, the number of patients requiring dialysis has risen threefold completely overwhelming the system, say nephrologists from New York hospitals. It is estimated that 20 to 40 percent of ICU patients with the coronavirus had kidney failure requiring emergency dialysis.
It is widely believed that SARS-CoV-2 is primarily a respiratory virus leading to pneumonia-like illness. Some patients with severe COVID-19 may suffer from respiratory failure requiring ventilator support.
But a significant proportion of patients tested positive for novel coronavirus infection having severe kidney failure that necessitates dialysis is something which is not really anticipated by the caregivers.
Experts, however, are not yet sure whether the kidney failure is a result of the virus injuring the organ or just one more organ failing as a secondary effect of a critical COVID-19 illness. Severe form of the new coronavirus disease can lead to multi-organ failure.
Researchers from China had reported cases with direct kidney injury from the new coronavirus infection even though such incidences were considerably low.