A renal specialist has warned that ‘tens of thousands’ of people who have had Covid-19 may require kidney transplants or dialysis.
Donal O’Donoghue, a consultant renal physician at Salford Royal NHS Trust said it is believed the kidneys may be injured by the inflammation caused by, or may be directly attacked by, Covid-19.
He told the House of Lords science and technology committee: “Normally we see maybe 20% of people that go on to intensive care unit need to have a form of dialysis. During Covid it was up to 40% – and 85% of people had some degree of kidney injury.”
He said this could result in “tens of thousands” more people requiring dialysis or kidney transplants.
The issue was reiterated by Chris Brightling, professor of respiratory medicine of the University of Leicester and the leader of a study into the long-term effects of the coronavirus, who said whole body scans of patients were showing “end-organ damage in the kidneys, in the liver, in the lungs and in the heart.”
“We are really getting a lot of clues that there are things that are happening across multiple organs from a disease that initially starts as a respiratory infection,” he said.
Earlier this month it was reported that thousands of people were still suffering from Covid-19 complications months after contracting the virus. Around 300,000 people have reported symptoms lasting longer than a month, but up to 60,000 people have reported having them for more than three months.
Tom Solomon, professor of neurology at the University of Liverpool, told the Lords committee that more needed to be done to support Covid-19 survivors, adding there was an “epidemic” in primary care as GPs were seeing significant numbers of patients with long-term Covid symptoms.
In July the NHS launched an on-demand coronavirus recovery service, called Your Covid Recovery, aimed at supporting people with long-term respiratory or mental health issues that had developed as a result of Covid-19.