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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 2329-0358

Coronavirus Disease 2019 and Kidney Transplantation in Saudi Arabia: Outcomes and Future Opportunities

Ali Alshaqaq, Abdulnaser Al Abadi, Abdulrahman Altheaby, Mohammed A. Bukhari, Basil Alnasrallah ORCID logo, Alaa Alamoudi, Ziad Arabi, Fayez Alhejaili, Khalid Bin Saad, Ahmed Busbaih, Mohammed Abdelrahim Idris, Sumayah Askandarani, Meteb M. AlBugami, Fahad E. Alotaibe, Khaled Hamawi, Khalid Bel’eed Akkari

Multi-Organ Transplant Center, King Fahad Specialist Hospital, Eastern Health Cluster, Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Ann Transplant 2021; 26:e931832

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.931832

Available online: 2021-05-06

Published: 2021-06-04


BACKGROUND: Kidney transplant services all over the world were severely impacted by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. The optimum management of kidney transplant recipients with coronavirus disease 2019 remains uncertain.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We conducted a multicenter cohort study of kidney transplant recipients with coronavirus disease 2019 infection in Saudi Arabia. Multivariable Cox regression analysis was used to study predictors of graft and patient outcomes at 28 days after coronavirus disease 2019 diagnosis.
RESULTS: We included 130 kidney transplant recipients, with a mean age of 48.7(±14.4) years. Fifty-nine patients were managed at home with daily follow-up utilizing a dedicated clinic, while 71 (54.6%) required hospital admission. Acute kidney injury occurred in 35 (26.9%) patients. Secondary infections occurred in 38 (29.2%) patients. SARS-CoV-2 antibodies testing was carried out in 84 patients, of whom 70 tested positive for IgG and/or IgM. Fourteen patients died (10.8%). A multivariable Cox regression analysis showed that age, creatinine at presentation, acute kidney injury, and use of azithromycin were significantly associated with worse patient survival. Graft loss was associated with requiring renal replacement therapy and development of secondary infections.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite kidney transplant recipients with coronavirus disease 2019 infection having higher rate of hospital admission and mortality compared to the general population, a significant number of them can be managed using a telemedicine clinic. Most kidney transplant patients seem to mount an antibody response following coronavirus disease 2019 infection, and it remains to be seen if they will have a similar response to the incoming vaccines.

Keywords: acute kidney injury, COVID-19, Kidney Transplantation, Saudi Arabia, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2