The current pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) spotlighted the vulnerability of patients with chronic kidney disease stage 5 on maintenance hemodialysis (HD) to the viral infection. Social distancing is the most effective preventive measure to reduce the risk of infection. Nonetheless, the necessity to frequently reach the dialysis center and the inherent social gathering both impede social distancing and also self-quarantine for infected individuals. A baseline hyperinflammatory state driven by factors such as the retention of uremic toxins afflicts these patients. Concomitantly, a condition of relative immunosuppression is also attributed to similar factors. The use of high-flux (HF) dialyzers for HD is the standard of care. However, with HF membranes, the removal of large middle molecules is scant. Medium cutoff (MCO) dialyzers are a new class of membranes that allow substantial removal of large middle molecules with negligible albumin losses. Recent trials confirmed long-term safety and long-term sustained reduction in the concentration of large uremic toxins with MCO dialyzers. Herein, we discuss the rationale for applying MCO membranes in COVID-19 patients and its possible immunoadjuvant effects that could mitigate the burden of COVID-19 infection in dialysis patients. We also discuss the direct cytopathic effect of the virus on renal tissue and extracorporeal blood purification techniques that can prevent kidney damage or reduce acute kidney injury progression.
© 2020 S. Karger AG, Basel.