Alan S. Kliger: Treating Kidney Diseases During COVID-19

October 5, 2020
Kenny Walter

Nephrologists have used telemedicine tools to help treat patients during the pandemic.

While there remains a lot of unknown about how the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) impacts different organ systems, researchers are finding out that the kidneys could be affected by infected patients.

In an interview with HCPLive®, Alan S. Kliger, MD, a clinical professor of medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine, explained how the kidneys of patients who did not previously suffer from kidney disease have been impacted by COVID-19.

“This was one of the really big surprises,” Kliger said. “Early reports out of China suggested that 40% of their patients who were hospitalized with COVID-19 developed either proteinuria or hematuria and 20% of those hospitalized had a decrease in their eGFR.”

Kliger called it a signal that COVID-19 attacks the kidneys and since then more in-depth studies show around 33% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients have had kidney problems.

However, like many other specialties across the medical spectrum, there hasn’t been much luck in treating the virus using common nephrology treatments.

Another byproduct of the pandemic is a delay in screenings and medical appointments. Kliger, who is also co-chair of the American Society of Nephrology Covid-19 Response Team, explained during the shelter-in-place stage, many appointments and examinations where cancelled and recently there has been a large increase in the demand for nephrology services.