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APRIL 23, 2020 — All through a recent webinar by the American Modern society of Nephrology, Anitha Vijayan, MD, professor of drugs in the Division of Nephrology at Washington University University of Medicine in St. Louis gave a presentation on the Useful Features of RRT in Hospitalized Clients with AKI or ESKD. We questioned her to share some of her insights with Medscape.

This job interview was edited for length and clarity.

What are the indications for renal alternative remedy (RRT) in sufferers with COVID-19?

Anitha Vijayan, MD:  The indications for RRT in sufferers with acute kidney injury (AKI) of any etiology are hyperkalemia metabolic acidosis volume overload, uremic manifestations these types of as uremic encephalopathy, or pericarditis. We also look at the severity of oliguria.

Are there any indications precise to COVID-19 or are they regular of ICU sufferers with AKI?

COVID-19 sufferers have a really large probability of respiratory failure and in some cases it is difficult to distinguish whether this is from volume overload or from pneumonia. Respiratory failure might be the driving force for initiation of renal alternative remedy in these sufferers, and it’s possible in that respect they are likely to be a minor various.

Do you recommend that healthcare management techniques be fatigued right before employing RRT?

If the only explanation to initiate RRT is respiratory failure and fluid overload, we recommend a demo of loop diuretics to start with. Of program, diuretics need to not be utilized if you suspect the individual is presently hypovolemic, or if they have other indications for RRT these types of as uremic manifestation or severe hyperkalemia, and so on.

Are you delaying RRT lengthier due to the fact of the scarcity of equipment or any scientific explanations?

I would say generally for controlling methods. Mainly because if we start out alternative remedy really early for all these sufferers, we will run out of equipment and other supplies.

Is steady renal alternative remedy (CRRT) the preferred modality?

CRRT is the preferred modality for any critically ill individual with AKI, specifically these who have hemodynamic instability. Which is the scenario, whether or not they have COVID-19.

Is there any desire for steady convective clearance hemodialysis (CVVH) around steady veno-venous hemodialysis (CVVHD)?


No. Convective clearance has not been shown to be top-quality to diffusive clearance, as considerably as individual outcomes are worried. As I stated in the webinar, you need to use what ever modality is out there at your establishment.

What about source-wise in conditions of preserving dialysate?

In most situations the exact prepackaged solutions are utilized both as alternative fluid (CVVH) or dialysate (CVVHD). Sure equipment like the Tablo can produce their own dialysate, and can only be utilized for CVVHD, and not CVVH. But source-wise, there is not any explanation to want one particular modality around the other. It all relies upon on what ever equipment are out there at your establishment.

A single of your recommendations is to reduce circulation fees to maximize methods. Can you elaborate?

Commonly for CRRT, we use an effluent circulation fee of about twenty-twenty five mL/kg/hr. That recommendation is centered on the ATN and RENAL studies, released in 2008 in 2009, respectively, which compared lower circulation fees to larger circulation fees, and did not exhibit any big difference as considerably as outcomes are worried. Having said that, no person has compared twenty-twenty five mL/kg/hr to an even lower circulation fee these types of as fifteen mL/kg/hr so, twenty-twenty five mL need to serve as the normal.

What I was recommending is that after sufferers accomplish metabolic regulate (stable electrolytes, acidosis under regulate), then you can look at decreasing the circulation fees to about fifteen mL/kg/hr to preserve methods.

Does extended intermittent RRT make it possible for you to treat extra sufferers with one particular device?

We use larger circulation fees for a shorter duration with PIRRT. We do CRRT 24 hrs a day, but with PIRRT you can probably use the device for two (ten hour solutions) to three sufferers (six hour solutions) when permitting time to clean up and disinfect the device in among. To make certain they are reaching a fair sum of clearance, we improve the circulation fee appreciably to approximate a overall of twenty-twenty five mL/kg/hr for 24 hrs. Fundamentally, you compute the fluid need for 24 hrs for each day and divide that by the selection of hrs you’re actually likely to do.


You can do PIRRT on the exact device as CRRT and it makes it possible for one particular device to be utilized for two or three sufferers but it even now requires the exact volume of fluids.

What about anticoagulation throughout RRT?

Anticoagulation is really critical in COVID-19, not only in my knowledge but also from discussing with other individuals throughout the state. Each single man or woman told me that anticoagulation is vital in sufferers on RRT, or else the equipment are clotting usually and we’re throwing away filters and of program blood.

Systemic anticoagulation with heparin worked for us, but other individuals have stated that their sufferers have been clotting inspite of heparin, and they have utilized regional citrate anticoagulation or direct thrombin inhibitors these types of as argatroban.

If your center is not employing citrate presently, I don’t recommend beginning it now due to the fact citrate is a challenging protocol, even in the finest fingers. In my opinion, employing it rapidly can be a setup for glitches and individual protection issues.

What about vascular entry?

It is critical that the suitable length of the catheter be picked out for the suitable vein, and our preferred get for vascular entry is the suitable inside jugular (IJ) vein, the femoral veins, and then the still left IJ.

A single of your recommendations was a cheat sheet for individuals who could possibly not be utilized to putting these catheters, suitable?

Certainly, we produced a cheat sheet that we mentioned with our vital care colleagues throughout our daily rounds and produced confident it was out there for them in the ICU.

Obtain Internet site

Most popular Catheter Duration (cm)

Correct inside jugular




Left inside jugular


Do you recommend multidisciplinary rounds?

Certainly, the multidisciplinary rounds have been exceptionally valuable for collaborating with the vital care physicians having care of these sufferers. We do them each individual morning, mostly with the vital care physicians from pulmonary or anesthesia.

What would you suggest hospitals getting ready for a surge — need to they be obtaining/borrowing equipment or stockpiling dialysate?

No one would recommend stockpiling dialysate due to the fact that usually means you can find fewer availability for individuals who really need it. I feel the finest strategy is to chat to your healthcare facility leadership to get projections of individual volumes for your establishment, and attempt to put together for that.


We have been blindsided by the sum of acute kidney injuries and the need for RRT due to the fact we did not get a whole lot of early reports about this from other nations around the world. In the beginning all the chat was about ventilators. The incidence in the US of critically ill sufferers with AKI needing RRT appears to be about twenty five%. You could put together for that volume at your establishment.

Ought to facilities be cross-coaching other specialties on how to set up and observe RRT gear?

I feel cross-coaching is critical. We are cross-coaching nurses in monitoring dialysis sufferers so that the dialysis nurses can choose care of extra sufferers. At our establishment, we prepared for that ahead of time, and addressed it in our planning paperwork.

You also confirmed some MacGyvering tricks for the equipment.

I tweeted two photographs. A single was with a individual who transpired to be on ECMO [extracorporeal membrane oxygenation], and the tubing of the ECMO is long enough to preserve the Prisma-Flex device outdoors the door.

The Prisma-Flex has an effluent bag that needs to be adjusted each individual 2 hrs. A single of our nurses took that bag and hung it up on an IV pole and permit it drain by gravity back again into the toilet within the space as an alternative of him obtaining to stand by the sink and

I would warning that individual protection constantly has to occur to start with. When blood tubing extensions are extra, sufferers are at possibility for hypothermia and blood reduction. Patient protection constantly trumps any of these maneuvers.

Is there any concern about renal toxicity of the solutions for COVID-19?

I am not mindful of direct toxicity from these remedies at this time, but, like most remedies, anytime sufferers have acute kidney injuries, the doses have to be modified to avert other forms of toxicity from treatment accumulation. 

Some of these sufferers will even now need dialysis after discharge. Any issues about that?

Which is a really critical stage which we’re seeing in New York. Even right before COVID-19, I constantly told my critically ill sufferers and their households that the kidneys are the previous organ to occur back again.


The need for dialysis constantly lasts lengthier than the need for a ventilator. These sufferers have to have dialysis after they leave the ICU, and in some cases after they leave the healthcare facility. Transitioning them to outpatient hemodialysis amenities has been difficult in some circumstances, until they are tested to be COVID negative. Facilities will accept them for therapy supplied they have repeat testing to prove that they are negative for COVID.

Does that need suggest you have to preserve them in healthcare facility lengthier than you would ordinarily? 

Certainly. We might have to preserve them lengthier to make confident that we have a facility who will accept them.

An additional nephrologist 


that kidney injuries might be one particular of the top rated long time period sequelae from COVID-19. Would you concur?

Probably. Clients who suffer from AKI have long-time period consequences, specifically if they have severe AKI. So they might be still left with chronic kidney ailment. They will unquestionably need long-time period nephrology care and shut observe-up.

What about somebody who presently has some renal dysfunction pre-COVID-19?

Any time you have underlying CKD and you have AKI on top rated of that, your prognosis is even worse than if you had just AKI.

The other inhabitants that we failed to talk about much is the end-stage kidney ailment inhabitants — these sufferers are presently vulnerable to bacterial infections, as they are likely to be older, and to have a weaker immune system. They are also extra uncovered due to the fact they are sitting down in a facility with other sufferers three occasions a 7 days for dialysis.

We have had sufferers with end-stage kidney ailment agreement COVID-19. As considerably as their outcomes, I don’t feel we have enough information to say how they fare compared to sufferers with COVID and acute kidney injuries.

Is there anything else you would like to notify our viewers?

I would say that controlling kidney ailment in COVID sufferers has been exceptionally hard for anyone throughout the US partly due to the fact we have been not geared up. It is fairly astonishing to me that we failed to hear extra about the nephrology elements from other nations around the world who have been strike right before the United States. And we even now need to learn extra about the specific pathophysiology of the AKI from COVID-19 and its long-time period sequelae. 


Anitha Vijayan MD is on the Scientific Advisory Board for NxStage Fresenius Medical Treatment.

Tricia Ward is an executive editor at Medscape who generally addresses cardiology and nephrology. She is centered in New York Town and you can observe her 

on Twitter @_triciaward

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