COVID-19

Currently the doctors don’t know whether being a dialysis or organ transplant patient increases your risk of acquiring coronavirus. However, dialysis and organ transplant patients are definitely at higher risk of exposure when they have to frequently go to hospitals and interact with healthcare personnel. Remember to protect yourself by sticking to the general rules of hygiene, social distancing and facemasks.

In transplantation, all donors are now screened for the coronavirus. This is necessary to eliminate the chance of Covid-19 virus transmission with the transplant. Because acquiring coronavirus while on strong immunosuppression can’t be got, it is clear even though doctors will always tell you they don’t have enough clinical data yet.

Coronavirus testing is now part of living donor pre-transplant work-up. It is generally best not to transplant kidneys from donors who had history of contact with Covid-19 patients, and/or have Covid-19 symptoms. However, in cases with life-saving transplants, donation may still remain an option if the donor with history of exposure tests negative for the virus. If you want to be a kidney donor, remember, staying away from coronavirus is necessary. If you had the coronavirus before and test negative now, it doesn’t mean the virus is completely gone from your cells. It may still hide in places that we are not yet aware of, and get transmitted to the recipient of your kidney. In that case, your gift of kidney may do more harm than good to the person you wanted to save.

If you do get a coronavirus as a patient, there are some things you need to know about your symptoms. The symptoms of coronavirus disease in patients with kidney transplants or chronic kidney disease seem to be similar to those in regular patients, except with fever being less common. However, the disease tends to be more severe and chances of bad outcome are higher. This is based on statistical observations of how many people were hospitalized and developed certain outcomes before. Your general welfare is your best friend: it looks like a lot of negative outcomes in transplant in dialyses patients are related to aggravation of previously existing diseases, for example, hypertension. Therefore, our best advise now is to stick to your recommended healthy lifestyle guidelines and be careful and make all efforts to avoid exposure to the virus!