• Researchers say several COVID-19 patients suffer from acute kidney injury 
  • Most of them may require dialysis
  • Those with AKI are less likely to recover renal functions

The novel coronavirus can cause serious damages to the kidneys and increase the risk of patients needing a dialysis, researchers say in a recent study.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology on Sept. 3, showed that many COVID-19 patients suffered from acute kidney injury (AKI). Out of the 3,993 patients who were part of the study, 46% had this kind of injury and one-fifth of them needed dialysis.

The researchers analyzed data of adult COVID-19 patients at the Mount Sinai Health System in New York from Feb. 27 to May 30.

They noted that those who had AKI were more likely to require renal replacement therapy (RRT) – a process that replaces the nonendocrine kidney function of patients who suffer from renal failure. The techniques used for this treatment include hemodialysis.

The kidney injury was mostly observed in men, Black and those who were above 50 years.

It may be noted that some previous studies also discussed the harmful effects of coronavirus on kidneys. Kidneys have an enzyme called the angiotensin-converting enzyme, which is the binding site of SARS-CoV-2.

The study showed that the death rate among patients with AKI was 50% compared to 8% among those without AKI. Only 30% who had AKI were able to survive and recover kidney functions.

In a press release, Dr. Girish Nadkarni, principal investigator of the study, said the system is grappling with uncertainly on how the virus will create an impact on the kidneys in the long run.

"We may be facing an epidemic of post-COVID-19 kidney disease, and that, in turn, could mean much greater numbers of patients who require kidney dialysis and even transplants," Nadkarni said. "For patients with kidney failure, the prospect of dialysis is one that is life-long, unless a transplant is possible."