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Factors ID'd for COVID-19 Infection Risk in Dialysis Patients

TUESDAY, June 8, 2021 -- For individuals receiving in-center hemodialysis, the risk for having a positive test for infection or admission with suspected COVID-19 is associated with age, diabetes, local community COVID-19 rates, and dialysis unit size, according to a study published online June 1 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Ben Caplin, M.B.Ch.B., Ph.D., from University College London, and colleagues explored the role of variables such as community disease burden, dialysis unit attributes, and infection control strategies among patients receiving in-center hemodialysis between March 2 and May 31, 2020. Data were included for 5,755 patients receiving dialysis in 51 units. Outcomes were defined as a positive test for infection or admission to the hospital with suspected COVID-19.

The researchers found that 17 and 8 percent of the participants tested positive and were admitted with suspected COVID-19, respectively, between March 2 and May 31, 2020. There was an association for outcomes with age, diabetes, local community COVID-19 rates, and dialysis unit size. There was an inverse association observed for outcomes with a greater number of available side rooms and introduction of mask policies for asymptomatic patients. The investigators observed no associations with sex, ethnicity, or deprivation indices nor with any isolation strategies.

"Taken together, the findings confirm the high rates of symptomatic COVID-19 among patients receiving in-center dialysis," Caplin said in a statement. "Addressing factors that might reduce transmission from patients without suspected or confirmed disease might provide an additional opportunity to further modify the impact of COVID-19 in this population."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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