Queensland Study Reveals Twice As Many Covid Patients May Have Acute Kidney Injury
Calls for clinical trial
The latest research from a Queensland based study reveals millions of Australian Covid patients may have an undiagnosed kidney injury (AKI).
Data released by the University of Queensland showed around 20 per cent of patients admitted to hospital with Covid developed acute kidney injury, with twice as many cases diagnosed in patients admitted ICU.
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Although majority of people with Covid have mild symptoms, about 5% develop severe symptoms, which can include acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock, and multiple organ failure, with the kidneys proving to be the most impacted.
AKI often happens within a few hours or a few days and is caused by a build-up of waste products in the blood, making it hard for the kidneys to keep the right balance of fluid in the body.
“Doctors look at the amount of urine a patient passes, and the level of a compound called creatinine in the blood, which rises when the kidneys aren’t working well,” UQ PhD candidate and kidney specialist Dr Marina Wainstein said.
“If that creatinine rise occurs before a patient presents to hospital, we can miss the AKI diagnosis and fail to manage the patient appropriately in those early, critical days of hospitalisation.”
- Dr Wainstein
Treating an acute kidney injury includes monitoring a patient’s hydration levels and stopping medications that can be toxic to the kidneys.
But if an AKI is not diagnosed in a patient with Covid, there can be dangerous consequences and even death.
Dr Sally Shrapnel from the University of Queensland said a more comprehensive definition of AKI needs to be implemented as soon as possible.
“Now we have the data showing a large gap in AKI diagnosis exists, it’s time to test this definition in a clinical trial so we can identify all AKI patients early and hopefully prevent these awful outcomes,” she said.
The research is published in PLOS Medicine.
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