Doctors are scrambling to handle an unanticipated crisis as a surge in Covid-19 patients with kidney failure has led to shortages of machines, supplies and staff required for emergency dialysis.
Evidence is mounting that in addition to respiratory complications, the coronavirus is also shutting down some patients’ kidneys, posing yet another series of life-and-death calculations for doctors, who were already dealing with a shortage of ventilators.
It is not yet known whether the kidneys are a major target of the virus, or whether they’re just one of many organs that can fail as the virus overwhelms the body.
Kidney specialists now estimate that 20 percent to 40 percent of patients in intensive care suffered kidney failure and needed emergency dialysis. Outside of New York, the growing demand for kidney treatments is becoming a major burden on hospitals in emerging hot spots like Boston, Chicago, New Orleans and Detroit.