CDC: Thousands of excess deaths occurred among kidney failure patients during pandemic

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While the death rate for end-stage renal disease patients in the U.S. has declined since 2001, between 6,953 and 10,316 excess deaths in patients with ESRD occurred during the first seven months of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to estimates published June 1 in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Among 798,611 patients with ESRD in the U.S., the CDC estimates between 8.7 and 12.9 excess deaths per 1,000 patients occurred between Feb. 1 and Aug. 31, 2020, translating to a total between 6,953 and 10,316. 

Overall, excess deaths were higher among dialysis patients than kidney transplant recipients, though more research is needed to assess the difference, the report said. 

Areas with the highest estimated number of excess ESRD deaths per 1,000 patients correlated with places that reported the largest number of COVID-19 related deaths during the same time period, such as New York, according to the report. 

"Geographic and temporal patterns of excess mortality should be considered during planning and implementation of interventions, such as COVID-19 vaccination, infection control guidance, and patient education," the report said. "These findings underscore the importance of data-driven technical assistance and further analyses on the causes and patterns of excess deaths in ESRD patients." 

The excess death estimates were based on comparisons between observed and predicted monthly deaths across the seven-month period, with predicted deaths based on data from 2016-19.

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