COVID-19 can affect the kidney of humans in two ways : Understand how?
Coronavirus is not just affecting the lungs of humans, but kidneys too. Various new research reports are suggesting that a significant proportion of coronavirus infected patients are experiencing kidney damage or kidney failures. Apart from ventilators, dialysis machines are also in demand as hospitals are experiencing a shortage of them.
In the past few days, several reports have suggested that hospitals across the globe are looking at a shortage of vital equipment like PPE kits, ventilators along with dialysis machines in their critical care wards.
What science says about it?
As per the science, kidney damage is common in the critical case of coronavirus making death more likely to happen . However, it is not clear if the COVID-19 directly affects the kidneys or if the kidney damage or failure is a part of multi-organ failure. The abundant presence of Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors in the kidney is touted as one of the possible reasons that the virus can attack the kidney directly. ACE2 enzyme is found on the external surface of the kidney. It could be an entry point into cells for some part of coronaviruses.
A study published on the pre-print server mediRxiv suggests that 27 per cent of patients experienced kidney failure. The study was done on 85 patients hospitalized in the Wuhan, China.
Possible ways on how coronavirus may harm the kidneys?
Two ways are found through which coronavirus can affect the kidneys. One way is when the cytokine storm takes place. In case of Cytokine storm, an overstimulated immune system response can set off an excessive release of WBC (white blood cells) which, instead of only repairing damaged tissues, start attacking the healthy tissue in the body as well. It can lead to multiple organ failure, sepsis and potentially death. Hence, it is possible that COVID-19 can affect the kidney of a human.
The other way is when coronavirus directly attacks the kidneys, possibly because of the presence of ACE2 receptors on the exterior surface of the body.
How doctors are dealing with it?
According to the AJKD (American journal of kidney diseases) research, some patients may need dialysis in case of kidney damage or failure. This need arises usually in the second week of the infection and it affects almost 5 per cent of the ICU patients.
As healthcare systems across the globe are already stretched out on both human resources and materials. It also poses a risk for those patients who have kidney failures and doesn’t have access to dialysis care.
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