NY Times: For weeks, U.S. government officials and hospital executives have warned of a looming shortage of ventilators as the coronavirus pandemic descended.
But now, doctors are sounding an alarm about an unexpected and perhaps overlooked crisis: a surge in Covid-19 patients with kidney failure that is leading to shortages of machines, supplies and staff required for emergency dialysis.
The disease is also shutting down some patients’ kidneys, posing yet another series of life-and-death calculations for doctors who must ferry a limited supply of specialized dialysis machines from one patient in kidney failure to the next. All the while fearing they may not be able to hook up everyone in time to save them.
It is not yet known whether the kidneys are a major target of the virus, or whether they’re just one more organ falling victim as a patient’s ravaged body surrenders. Dialysis fills the vital roles the kidneys play, cleaning the blood of toxins, balancing essential components including electrolytes, keeping blood pressure in check and removing excess fluids. It can be a temporary measure while the kidneys recover, or it can be used long-term if they do not. Another unknown is whether the kidney damage caused by the virus is permanent. read more…