COVID-19 patients with chronic kidney disease more likely to be hospitalized; Study

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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A recent study conducted on electronic health records at the US-based regional health care provider Geisinger Health System has revealed that chronic kidney disease among COVID-19 victims is seen as a leading risk factor for hospitalization among them. 

The disclosure was made by a team of researchers who examined the health records of 12,971 individuals who were tested for COVID-19 in the facility. The team found that 1,604 individuals from the group were tested positive for COVID-19 which included 354 who needed hospitalization.

Researchers focused their study on analyzing the relation of COVID-19 hospitalization to particular clinical conditions, such as kidney, cardiovascular, respiratory and metabolic ailments.

The study which was published in a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal called PLOS ONE revealed that COVID-19 victims with chronic kidney disease were the most likely to be hospitalized. Meanwhile, COVID-19 patients with end-stage renal disease were 11 times more likely to be hospitalized than patients without kidney disease.

Dr. Alex Chang, a nephrologist and co-director at Geisinger’s Kidney Health Research Institute observed that “previous studies have identified a variety of health conditions associated with an increased risk of COVID-related hospitalization, including diabetes, heart failure, hypertension, and chronic kidney disease. What is significant here is the magnitude of the kidney disease-related risk.”

The team observed that the factors on how these medical conditions increase the risk of COVID-19-related hospitalization are yet to be fully identified.

The study did hint at the physiological stress caused by an excessive inflammatory response to COVID-19 infection could cause de-stabilization of the organ which is already weakened by chronic disease. The researchers also suggested the possibility of the COVID-19 induced injury to the organs acting as a “second hit” to these already vulnerable organs.

The team narrated that “consistent with this hypothesis, kidney and heart are among the tissues with the highest expression of ACE2, a SARS-CoV-2 receptor.”