Kidney Med. 2020 Jun 15;2(4):459-466. doi: 10.1016/j.xkme.2020.06.001. eCollection 2020 Jul-Aug.
RATIONALE & OBJECTIVE: The world is facing a global pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Although kidney transplant recipients are at increased risk for viral infections, the impact of their chronic immunosuppressed status on the risk for acquiring coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and disease severity is unknown.
STUDY DESIGN: All cases of COVID-19 infection in our cohort of kidney transplant recipients were prospectively monitored. Clinical features, management, and outcomes were recorded. A standard strategy of immunosuppression minimization was applied: discontinue the antimetabolite drug and reduce trough levels of calcineurin or mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors. Unless contraindicated, hydroxychloroquine was administered only to hospitalized patients.
SETTING & PARTICIPANTS: 22 COVID-19 infections were diagnosed in our cohort of 1,200 kidney transplant recipients.
RESULTS: Most common initial symptoms included fever, cough, or dyspnea. 18 (82%) patients required hospitalization. Of those patients, 3 had everolimus-based immunosuppression. Computed tomography of the chest at admission (performed in 15 patients) showed mild (n = 3), moderate (n = 8), extensive (n = 1), severe (n = 2), and critical (n = 1) involvement. Immunosuppression reduction was initiated in all patients. Hydroxychloroquine was administered to 15 patients. 11 patients required supplemental oxygen; 2 of them were admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) with mechanical ventilation. After a median of 10 days, 13 kidney transplant recipients were discharged, 2 were hospitalized in non-ICU units, 1 was in the ICU, and 2 patients had died.
LIMITATIONS: Small sample size and short follow-up.
CONCLUSIONS: The clinical presentation of COVID-19 infection was similar to that reported in the general population. A standard strategy of immunosuppression minimization and treatment was applied, with 11% mortality among kidney transplant recipients hospitalized with COVID-19 infection.