Specialists from the Center for Clinical Epidemiology of the Virginia Health System analyzed data from 89,000 US military veterans who had confirmed COVID-19 during the year. The average age of those infected was 68 years. For comparison, scientists used information from medical records of more than 1.6 million Americans who did not have coronavirus.
The study authors focused on all cases of renal failure and key indicators of kidney function, including creatinine levels and glomerular filtration rate.
The obtained data were corrected by the specialists taking into account the age, the presence of chronic diseases and the medications taken. The results showed that patients after COVID-19 were, on average, 35% more likely to have kidney problems or significantly decrease kidney function within 1-6 months compared to those who did not have coronavirus. Among the veterans included in the study, in 4.7 thousand people, kidney function worsened by at least 30% in a year.
“This is equivalent to 30 years of declining functioning,” the New York Times quoted the study’s lead author, nephrologist Ziyad Al-Aly, as quoted by the New York Times.
Some of the study participants had even more serious kidney problems: the function decreased by 40-50%. End stage renal failure was diagnosed in 220 veterans – 85%.
The scientists warned that only older men were involved in the study, so the results are difficult to interpret for the entire population. In any case, both doctors and patients should pay increased attention to kidney activity after suffering a coronavirus.
“Since many people with reduced kidney function do not experience pain or other symptoms, it is very important to be aware that this risk exists,” the study authors concluded.