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COVID-19: increasing demand for dialysis sparks fears of supply shortage

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More than a quarter of patients with COVID-19 on ventilators also need renal support in the form of dialysis, raising concerns that there could be significant supply problems as countries attempt to stock up on the required fluid and plastic consumables.

Nephrology consultant Graham Lipkin told The BMJ, “This is an under-recognised challenge. While the original focus has been on whether we have enough ventilators and intensive care beds, it has become apparent that there is a high incidence of acute kidney injury (AKI) requiring some form of renal replacement therapy (RRT) through dialysis. With the volume of people coming into intensive care, there are increasing challenges to capacity across the system.”

Lipkin, who is president of the Renal Association, has been working with NHS England to develop new clinical guidelines for the prevention and optimal management of AKI in hospital. The guidance aims to reduce the incidence of AKI and therefore the demand for dialysis.

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Source: BMJ, 21 April 2020

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