This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to investigate the prevalence of postmortem kidney histopathologic features of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in addition to the rate of renal tropism in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
We searched Web of Science, PubMed, Embase, and Scopus up to September 2022 to identify eligible studies. A random-effects model was used to estimate the pooled prevalence. Cochran Q test and Higgins I2 were used to assess evidence of heterogeneity.
In total, 39 studies were included in the systematic review. The meta-analysis included 35 studies consisting of a total of 954 patients, with an average age of 67.1 years. The pooled prevalence of acute tubular injury (ATI)-related changes was the predominant finding (85% [95% confidence interval, 71%-95%]), followed by arteriosclerosis (80%), vascular congestion (66%), and glomerulosclerosis (40%). Endotheliitis (7%), fibrin microthrombi (12%), focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (1%), and calcium crystal deposits (1%) were seen in a smaller number of autopsies. The overall average rate of virus detection was 47.79% in the pooled data of 21 studies (272 samples).
The main finding-ATI-correlated to clinical COVID-19-associated acute kidney injury. The presence of SARS-CoV-2 in kidney samples in addition to vascular lesions in kidneys can be linked to direct kidney invasion by the virus.

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