The aim of our analysis was to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the procurement program and kidney transplantation in Slovakia and to identify the risk factors for a severe course of COVID-19 disease, as well as the risk factors for COVID-19 fatalities, with the focus on the parameters preceding the infection. We compared morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 before and after the spread of the alpha variant of the virus and the same among transplant (KTRs) and haemodialysis patients in Slovakia.
305 KTRs (68.8 % males) with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 positivity were included in the multicentric retrospective analysis. The patients were split into subgroups based on the time of falling ill and their clinical course.
The procurement program and kidney transplants in Slovakia dropped in the observed period by 28.6 % (p<0.0001) and by 33.5 % (p<0.0001) respectively. Age over 59 years (p=0.0088) and diabetes mellitus (p=0.0106) were identified as independent risk factors for severe course of the disease. Risk factors for death were the age over 59 years (p=0.0003) and graft dysfunction with CKD-EPI<0.5 mL/s (p=0.0029). The prevalence of the alpha variant in Slovakia was associated with a severe course in KTRs treated with corticoids (p=0.0273) and in graft dysfunction with CKD-EPI<0.5 mL/s (p=0.0076); the risk of death was higher in KTRs over 59 years (p=0.0173) and again with CKD-EPI<0.5 mL/s (p=0.0393). KTRs had a 3.7 times lower risk of infection compared to the haemodialysis patients (p<0.0001), with mortality of 9.8 % vs 30 % (p<0.0001).
The procurement and transplant program is sustainable even during a pandemic, provided that measures are set up quickly. Morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 in KTRs was comparable to the situation in EU countries. Patients in the haemodialysis program had a worse prognosis (Tab. 5, Fig. 1, Ref. 21) Keywords: COVID-19, kidney transplantation, dialysis, immunosuppression, obesity, diabetes mellitus.