Long-term dialysis patients four times more likely to die of Covid-19: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on February 05, 2021

Patients should be educated about their increased risk of infection and higher mortality, including risks associated with social activities

A new study carried out by researchers in Ontario has found that people undergoing long-term dialysis are almost four times more likely to die from Covid-19.

The researchers said that those undergoing dialysis should be prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccine.

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The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), looked at data related to 12,501 patients undergoing long-term dialysis in Ontario between March 12 and August 20, 2020.

Of these, 187 patients (1.5 per cent) were diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection, of which, 53 patients (28.3 per cent) died and 117 (62.6 per cent) were admitted to hospital.

In contrast, uninfected people who were undergoing dialysis during that period had a death rate of 5.8 per cent and a hospitalisation rate of 27 per cent.

Since this analysis, the number of people on dialysis infected with the virus has risen to over 570 and the number of deaths has increased to 120. The sudden spike was especially seen in the last two months.

“As the Covid-19 pandemic proceeds, focused efforts should be made to protect this population from infection, including prioritising patients on long-term dialysis and the staff treating them for SARS-CoV-2 vaccination,” wrote Dr. Peter Blake, provincial director, Ontario Renal Network, Ontario Health, along with co-authors.

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The authors also stressed that patients should be educated about their increased risk of infection and higher mortality, including risks associated with social activities.

Paid sick leave should be available for those in high-risk occupations. Other strategies should include a low symptom threshold for testing, more space between treatment stations in dialysis units, and regular testing of high-risk groups, such as those living in long-term care, the authors concluded.

Published on February 05, 2021

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