Guidance on the special care of liver or kidney transplant recipients diagnosed with COVID-19
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic caused by infection with the novel, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), transplant medicine also had to face a new, hitherto unknown challenge. To be prepared for any possibility, we consider it important to summarize the current knowledge regarding COVID-19 of liver and kidney transplant patients. Very early reports from Spanish and French registry recorded fatality rates of 18.6% and 13%, respectively, in renal patients which suggests a moderately worse outcome compared to the general population. In patients with positive PCR test but not showing clinical signs, the reduction of immunosuppression is not advised. In the case of gastrointestinal or respiratory signs with fever, the discontinuation of mycophenolate or mTOR inhibitors is recommended with decrease of the trough levels of calcineurin inhibitors to the lowest effective limit. Stop (kidney transplanted patients) or decrease (liver transplanted patients) immunosuppression and maintain corticosteroids when pulmonal injury develops and consider anti-IL1 and anti-IL6 monoclonal antibody use when hyperinflammatory syndrome is evolving. No proven effective treatment for SARS-CoV-2 exists currently. The use of lopinavir/ritonavir should be avoided because of the severe drug interaction with calcineurin inhibitors. The efficacy and tolerability of hidroxychloroquin remains to be also questionable; enroll patients into clinical trial with remdesivir or favipiravir if available. COVID-19 is characterized by virus-induced endothelial dysfunction, procoagulant state and renin-angiotensin-aldosteron system imbalance. Early thromboprofilaxis combination with low-molecular-weight heparin and low-dose aspirin is strongly recommended with the maintenance of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI) or angiotensin-II-receptor blocker (ARB) therapy when they were prescribed earlier. Orv Hetil. 2020; 161(32): 1310-1321.