Kidney Care UK is extremely concerned at reports of a critical shortage of supplies for the provision of life saving dialysis treatment in ICU for patients with acute kidney injury (AKI) caused by COVID-19. For those patients who are on ventilators, over 28% will develop severe AKI and require dialysis treatment. We raised concerns with the Department of Health and Social Care on 7 April.
This shortage must be treated as an exceptionally urgent NHS priority. We need to see that national innovation, reserves and suppliers have all been called on to resolve this, and we are urgently calling upon the government to make public its immediate and short term contingency plans.
“No patients in ICUs should be put at risk due to a shortage of supplies and any proposed solution must not impact detrimentally on the care and treatment provided to existing long term kidney patients or their recommended dialysis treatment,” said Fiona Loud, Kidney Care UK Policy Director.
Our renal colleagues are working incredibly hard to manage the situation and kidney patients should be assured that they are making all efforts to ensure they can continue to receive their life sustaining treatment. We have been reassured by senior doctors that this urgent situation affects ICUs and patients with acute kidney injury, and that there is no anticipated risk of supply issues for patients receiving long-term dialysis. Read the Renal Association statement on COVID-19 related acute kidney injury and intensive care capacity
We continue to monitor the situation closely.
- 28.8% of people severely affected by Covid-19 need dialysis because of acute kidney injury, mostly in intensive care units.
- This form of dialysis takes place continuously, until the patient no longer requires it, and is known as continuous venous venous haemofiltration (CVVH).
- Acute kidney injury (AKI), is a sudden failure of kidney function. While there is a systemic illness in progress, like Covid-19, the kidneys can start to fail quickly.
- Shortages are particularly affecting the following areas: supplies of consumables (such as fluid and tubing), availability of machines and trained staff, some of whom are off sick themselves or shielding.
- There are around 30,000 existing kidney patients who are already on dialysis and need supplies maintained for their life-maintaining treatment. This group is also classed as being at increased risk of severe illness from Covid-19 and have been advised to self-isolate at home, apart from travel to treatment.
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