COVID-19 has spread globally to now be considered a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. Initially patients appeared to have a respiratory limited disease but there are now increasing reports of multiple organ involvement including renal disease in association with COVID-19. We studied the development and outcomes of acute kidney injury (AKI) in patients with COVID-19, in a large multicultural city hospital trust in the UK, to better understand the role renal disease has in the disease process.
This was a retrospective review using electronic records and laboratory data of adult patients admitted to the four Manchester University Foundation Trust Hospitals between March 10 and April 30 2020 with a diagnosis of COVID-19. Records were reviewed for baseline characteristics, medications, comorbidities, social deprivation index, observations, biochemistry and outcomes including mortality, admission to critical care, mechanical ventilation and the need for renal replacement therapy.
There were 1032 patients included in the study of whom 210 (20.3%) had AKI in association with the diagnosis of COVID-19. The overall mortality with AKI was considerably higher at 52.4% compared to 26.3% without AKI (p-value <0.001). More patients with AKI required escalation to critical care (34.8% vs 11.2%, p-value <0.001). Following admission to critical care those with AKI were more likely to die (54.8% vs 25.0%, p-value <0.001) and more likely to require mechanical ventilation (86.3% vs 66.3%, p-value 0.006).
We have shown that the development of AKI is associated with dramatically worse outcomes for patients, in both mortality and the requirement for critical care. Patients with COVID-19 presenting with, or at risk of AKI should be closely monitored and appropriately managed to prevent any decline in renal function, given the significant risk of deterioration and death.