There is scarcity of data on the consequences coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) infections in kidney transplant recipients (KTR) from emerging countries.
Here, we present a cohort study of 13 transplant centers in India including 250 KTR (226 living and 24 deceased donor) with PCR confirmed COVID-19 positivity from March 23, 2020 until September 15, 2020. We detailed demographics, immunosuppression regimen, clinical profile, treatment and outcomes.
Median age of transplant recipients was 43 years and recipients presented at a median of 3.5 years after transplant. Most common comorbidities (94%) included arterial hypertension (84%), diabetes (32%); presenting symptoms at the time of COVID-19 included fever (88%), cough (72%) and sputum production (52%). Clinical severity ranged from asymptomatic (6%), mild (60%), moderate (20%) to severe (14%). Strategies to modify immunosuppressants included discontinuation of antimetabolites without changes in calcineurin inhibitors and steroids (60%). Risk factors for mortality included older age, dyspnoea, severe disease, obesity, allograft dysfunction prior to COVID-19 infection, acute kidney injury (AKI) , higher levels of inflammatory markers including C reactive protein, IL6 level, procalcitonin, chest XR abnormality, and ICU/ventilator requirements. Overall patient mortality was 11.6%(29/250), 14.5%(29/200) in hospitalized patients, 47%(25/53) in ICU patients and 96.7%(29/30) in patients requiring ventilation. KTR with mild COVID-19 symptoms(n=50) were managed as outpatients to optimize the utilization of scarce resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mortality rates in COVID-19 positive KTR appears to be higher than those in nonimmunosuppressed patients and high mortality was noted among those requiring intensive care and those on ventilator.

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