The president of the Spanish Society of Nephrology (SEN), María Dolores del Pino, has warned this Friday of the strong impact that Covid-19 is having on the kidney patients, It has also warned that cases have been detected of patients who did not have any kidney disease, and that, after suffering from the virus, they have been affected by complications or appearance of pathologies kidney

During the presentation of the 50th Congress of the SEN, he highlighted the appearance of “new cases of people who, without presenting previous problems in their kidneys, have seen the appearance of kidney damage processes as a result of suffering from the new virus, which makes them have a worst prognosis of the disease and higher mortality. This has been presenting us with a completely new scenario for the activity of nephrologists and comprehensive care for our patients “.

On the other hand, the new coronavirus has shown important consequences in the patients that they did have a kidney problem and that they have been infected with the virus. Specifically, more than 2,000 patients who were undergoing renal replacement therapy in Spain (RRT) – out of a total of 61,000 patients on RRT throughout the country – have been affected by SARS-CoV-2 since last March until the beginning of October, according to the SEN COVID-19 registry

The main difference between the current coronavirus and previous ones is its ability to infect all tissues

Among these patients with chronic kidney disease, the impact on patients who undergo hemodialysis, which represents the RRT modality in 53% of affected patients, and which has reached a mortality rate higher than 25% of cases. The patient profile kidney affected by COVID-19 is a man (2/3 of the cases), with an average age of 60, and in a 22% diabetic.

However, he stressed that, thanks to the action protocol established with the Ministry of Health to care for kidney patients in Spanish dialysis units and centers, “it has been managed to prevent and protect to kidney patients so that the incidence of COVID-19 was not higher, something that we are also noticing in this second wave “, but which continues to require prudence, caution and to follow safety and protection measures.

Great unknown to public opinion

On the other hand, he has sent a warning message on the growth that chronic kidney disease has been experiencing in Spain in recent years, a pathology that despite affecting an important part of the Spanish population (about seven million people) and having a great impact on the expectation of survival and quality of life of patients, remains a great unknown for the majority of public opinion.

The prevalence of chronic kidney disease in Spain (CKD) has grown almost a 30% in the last decade, and the number of people in Renal Replacement Treatment already exceeds 1,300 people per million population (pmp). Besides, the mortality rate has grown more than 30% In the last decade, and in 2018 5,100 people died on TRS in our country, that is, 14 people a day.

With equal concern he observes the incidence (new patient cases), which has gone from 141 pmp in 2017 to 147.3 pmp in 2018, 4% more. This means that more than 6,800 people with kidney disease would have started RRT with dialysis or transplantation in 2018, for a total of 61,000 patients on RRT.

Prevention and early detection

According to nephrologists, this increase in the incidence of CKD is related to aspects such as aging of people, but especially with risk factors such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease (responsible for 50% of cases), obesity, high blood pressure or smoking. Hence, they underline the importance of adopting healthy lifestyle habits, to stop the advance of this pathology, which also presents symptoms that are not very recognizable in its initial stages, and which has an underdiagnosis rate that exceeds 40%.

“We have made great progress in the treatment of chronic kidney disease in advanced stages, with a high level of excellence in our country, but we must act now from prevention and early detection, increasing efforts that allow us to develop strategies and actions aimed at promoting prevention and early care for patients, strengthen Primary Care and in implementing actions that involve training in healthy lifestyles from childhood, so that their main risk factors can be prevented, and curb their incidence for the future, “said the president of the SEN

“For this we need the support from all, professionals, administrations and industry, and insist on raising awareness in society so that it knows the importance of Chronic Kidney Disease and the strong impact it has on patients and their families, as well as on the health system “, he concluded.