COVID-19 causing kidney failures, shortage of dialysis machines

The country is already short on ventilators, now it's dialysis machines.

The United States is already having mayday with disease hitting death kneel for the country. While the country is already short on ventilators, there seems a new crisis emerging, which is very disturbing. The disturbing crisis is the shortage in the machines that are required for dialysis. This is an emergency situation because it is leading a lot of kidney failure cases in patients affected by COVID-19.

While the disease is known to prominently affect the respiratory system, we should also see that there are a number of secondary complications that occur in the disease. The disease has led to a lot of patients with kidney complications, which raised the demand for specialized dialyzing machines to save those patients. One of the experts said that around 20 to 40 percent of patients in I.C.U. experience kidney failure and thereby need dialysis. Therefore, the need for kidney replacement therapy is skyrocketing and is like never seen before.

Why is the coronavirus causing kidney complications?

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It is not exactly known whether the virus primarily attacks the kidney as an organ of the target, or it fails due to secondary complications. All we know is that kidneys are damaged in most cases and scientists are on a roll to find out whether the damage is permanent or temporary. Dialysis will essentially help these people in carrying out the role of their kidneys for a period of time. However, the shortages are not only on the machines; it is also seen that fluids that are needed to carry out the process are also in demand. Responding to this, the F.D.A. said it is monitoring the supply.

The shortage of machines and supplies was not expected by the federal government from the beginning. It is partially due to the fact that initial reports from China said that there was minor damage to kidneys in affected people. But things started to turn serious only when the pandemic worst-hit Italy, and that’s when the nephrologists community started to take a leap on this, after which the importance of dialysis came to light. With a shortage in supply, hospitals are requesting manufacturers to rush the production of the machines.

With a demanding and catastrophic situation ahead, physicians are trying to work out an alternative method for dialysis. Peritoneal dialysis may give ahead, but it is complicated. Since the method requires catheterization into the abdomen, it becomes difficult for the person with respiratory failure to undergo normal respiration under such circumstances. Doctors are now racing against the time to save patients from the pandemic. Simultaneously, other hand experts are analyzing the capacity of a person to manage without the need for dialysis.

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Source: New York Times

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