Kidney transplant recipients with COVID-19 at higher risk of early death, study shows

Kidney transplant recipients with COVID-19 at a New York City hospital had higher early death rates than other coronavirus patients, new research shows.

In a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine, clinicians detailed the high risk kidney transplant recipients face once they contract COVID-19. They discuss the cases of 36 transplant recipients who tested positive for COVID-19 between March 16 and April 1.

Twenty-six recipients were male, and the median age was 60 years. Fourteen recipients were black, and 15 were Hispanic.

Most of the kidney transplant recipients had an underlying condition: 34 had hypertension, 25 had diabetes mellitus and six had heart disease.

The most common initial symptom was fever (in 21 patients), and diarrhea was recorded for eight of the patients. Twenty-eight patients (78 percent) were admitted to the hospital.

Eleven patients (39 percent) received mechanical ventilation, and six patients (21 percent) received renal replacement therapy.

At a median follow-up of 21 days, 10 of the 36 kidney transplant recipients studied (28 percent) had died. Seven of the 11 patients who were put on a ventilator (64 percent) died.

At 21 days, reported death rate among patients with COVID-19 in the general population is 1 percent to 5 percent, much lower than the 28 percent among kidney transplant recipients with COVID-19, the letter states.



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