Research reveals direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on the mortality of hemodialysis patients

New research has revealed elevated risks of death during the COVID-19 pandemic for both COVID-19–positive and other patients on hemodialysis compared with hemodialysis patients treated in 2019. The findings will be presented at ASN Kidney Week 2022 November 3–November 6.

The study relied on data from 63,216 patients undergoing hemodialysis in 2019–2020 at NephroCare centers of 23 countries in European and Middle East countries.

In line with two waves of the pandemic in the general population, two fluctuations of mortality risk were observed for both COVID-19–positive and other patients on hemodialysis (patients without a documented COVID-19 infection in Fresenius Medical Care's electronic health record system). Compared with hemodialysis patients treated in 2019, the mortality risk of COVID-19–positive patients on dialysis persisted at much higher levels across 2020 (greater than 6.5-fold), whereas the mortality risk of other patients on dialysis was elevated slightly (less than 1.5-fold) and mainly during the pandemic peak periods.

The COVID-19 pandemic had direct and indirect impact on the mortality of hemodialysis patients. Potential reasons of the increased mortality among patients without confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis could be undertesting or healthcare system capacity constraints. Quantifying the magnitude of pandemic effects on patients with and without confirmed disease may benefit dialysis clinics to manage patients during critical events."

Yan Zhang, PhD, Corresponding Author, Fresenius Medical Care

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