Hospitals Need Dialysis Equipment as Thousands of Coronavirus Patients Develop Kidney Problems

Credit: NIH

New reporting indicates approximately 20 percent of COVID-19 patients in intensive care need the kidney treatment, often for weeks, prompting federal officials to discuss the possibility of issuing emergency use authorizations to import more dialysis fluids.

Shortages are already testing hospitals in New York, where more than 202,000 people have become infected and almost 11,000 have died. The same day that federal regulators met, major New York hospital systems convened to discuss the emerging dialysis crisis. Some are struggling with dire shortfalls of dialysis fluids and trained nursing staff, and have reached out directly to manufacturers for help.

If the severe coronavirus patients put on dialysis recover, the kidney disease symptoms usually dissipate too, a doctor treating them said. But the demand now has pressured even regular stocks that hospitals buy to help the kidney failure patients without the coronavirus, and providers worry that standard dialysis equipment such as machines and infusion pumps and could be next. At the same time, few hospitals have the trained nursing staff available to administer dialysis, a time-consuming treatment, to a surge of new patients — and those nurses are falling ill with the virus.

Read the full story by Sarah Owermohle and Amanda Eisenberg at Politico

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