- Kidney damage or a decline in kidney function has been detected in COVID-19 patients who have recovered.
- Even non-hospitalized people with no renal issues have a nearly twofold increased chance of getting end-stage kidney disease.
Covid-19 survivors are now being diagnosed with kidney damage, which is painless and silent.
A study discovered that injury to the blood-filtering organ can occur in patients who recover from the coronavirus at home, and that it worsens with the severity of Covid. Even non-hospitalized people with no renal issues have a nearly twofold increased chance of getting end-stage kidney disease when compared to someone who never had Covid.
The results, published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology on Wednesday, reveal another harmful burden of the pandemic, which has infected more than 200 million people worldwide.
For every 10,000 mild-to-moderate Covid patients, 7.8 more people require dialysis or a kidney transplant, according to the statistics.
“This is not a tiny figure when you consider the vast number of Americans and people all over the world that might end up with end-stage kidney disease,” said Ziyad Al-Aly, head of the clinical epidemiology unit at the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System in Missouri. “This is massive, and it will actually change our life for the next decade or more.”
Researchers lead by Dr. Al-Aly and his colleagues analysed data gathered by the Veterans Health Administration during normal treatment to record the slew of devastating consequences that Covid survivors experience months after diagnosis, from blood clots, stroke and diabetes to heart disease to liver and kidney damage to depression to memory loss and anxiety.
Al-Aly’s recent study evaluated the risks of kidney-related diseases in 89,216 VA patients who survived Covid to more than 1.7 million non-Covid patients.
“What’s really troublesome with kidney disease is that it’s really silent, that it doesn’t really manifest in pain or any other signs,” Al-Aly, a nephrologist, said.
Al-Aly and colleagues discovered that non-hospitalized Covid patients have a 23% higher chance of developing acute kidney injury within six months, a disease that affects the elimination of waste and toxins from the blood.
According to Al-Aly, doctors caring for Covid survivors must also be on the alert for a wide range of kidney illness in these patients.
“If this is happening on a larger scale – and we believe it is – it’s only a matter of time before we see all of these people hitting the clinics, needing dialysis, needing transplantation, which places a lot of burden on the patient himself or herself and is really very costly to the health care system,” he said.