Covid-19 Can Aggravate Kidney Problems: Health Experts

New Delhi: While the effect of Covid-19 is well known on cardiovascular diseases or lungs, health experts on Thursday warned that Covid-19 patients with kidney problems need to be highly cautious too, or it may damage their kidneys.

According to the experts, many individuals who develop Covid-19 experience kidney damage, or acute kidney injury (AKI), also known as acute renal failure (ARF).

AKI is a sudden episode of kidney failure or kidney damage that happens within a few hours or a few days. It causes a build-up of waste products in the blood and makes it hard for kidneys to keep the right balance of fluid in the body. It can also affect other organs such as the brain, heart and lungs.

“Kidneys get affected in cases where Covid-19 infection is severe. It further causes AKI in about 10 to 20 per cent of hospitalized patients,” Deepak Kalra, Additional Director-Nephrology, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi, told IANS.

A study, published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, showed that in patients with Covid-19, AKI was uncommon but was linked with a high risk of in-hospital mortality. The researchers found that the in-hospital mortality rate was 10 per cent in patients without AKI versus 72 per cent in patients with AKI.

“Covid-19 directly attacks immunity and organs which adds to the same severity of the virus-borne disease and seriousness of the disease itself,” said Rajesh Aggrawal, Senior Consultant and Chief of Action Kidney Transplant and Dialysis Department, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, New Delhi.

“A kidney patient needs complete care and prevention from every sort of infection,” said Agarwal on the occasion of World Kidney Day, which is observed on March 11.

The factors associated with a higher risk of AKI include severe Covid-19 disease, high blood levels of creatinine (an indicator of kidney dysfunction), low blood levels of certain immune cells and high blood levels of a protein fragment indicative of elevated blood clot formation and breakdown.

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