Covid: Millions of patients may have potentially fatal kidney condition and not know it

Research by the University of Queensland (UQ), in Australia, discovered a fifth of these admitted to hospital with Covid develop acute kidney damage (AKI). This rises to 40 p.c of COVID-19 patients in intensive care. However, UQ PhD candidate and kidney specialist, Dr Marina Wainstein, stated the true numbers might be double these figures.

“Doctors look at the amount of urine a patient passes and the level of a compound called creatinine in the blood, which rises when the kidneys aren’t working well,” she stated.

“However, if that creatinine rise occurs before a patient presents to hospital, we can miss the AKI diagnosis and fail to manage the patient appropriately in those early, critical days of hospitalisation.”

AKI is a condition the place the kidneys all of the sudden fail to filter waste from the blood, which may result in critical sickness and even loss of life.

It usually occurs as a complication of one other critical sickness and is not the outcome of a bodily blow to the kidneys, because the identify may recommend.

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The NHS says: “It’s essential that AKI is detected early and treated promptly.

“Without quick treatment, abnormal levels of salts and chemicals can build up in the body, which affects the ability of other organs to work properly.

“If the kidneys shut down completely, this may require temporary support from a dialysis machine, or lead to death.”

Dr Wainstein explained when researchers measured the fall in creatinine levels, which often follows the initial rise, the rate of AKI diagnosis in COVID-19 patients doubled.


According to the NHS, symptoms of AKI include:

  • feeling sick or being sick
  • diarrhoea
  • dehydration
  • peeing less than usual
  • confusion
  • drowsiness

The study, which was published in PLOS Medicine, used data on COVID-19 patients admitted to 1,609 hospitals across 54 countries between February 15, 2020 to February 1, 2021.

Study supervisor, Dr Sally Shrapnel, from UQ’s college of arithmetic and physics, stated amassing and analysing knowledge for the project in the course of the pandemic proved difficult.

“Typically data scientists work with complete, well curated registry data, but in this project it was collected by hospital staff working under extremely onerous conditions in a variety of different resource settings,” she added.

She believed a extra complete definition of AKI – one which may detect circumstances that develop in the neighborhood – must be applied as quickly as doable.

Dr Shrapnel concluded: “Now we have the data showing a large gap in AKI diagnosis exists, it’s time to test this definition in a clinical trial so we can identify all AKI patients early and hopefully prevent these awful outcomes.”

Up to May 20 this year, there have been 22,238,713 reported circumstances of COVID-19 within the UK and 177,977 deaths inside 28 days of a optimistic take a look at.

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