Introduction: COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the health system and the world at large. Patients with kidney failure are a select group which have been affected significantly by the scourge of the disease. In the COVID-19 era, renal replacement therapy (RRT) in the form of dialysis and kidney transplantation required modifications in many centres in order to maintain high quality care and reduce infection rates among this susceptible group of patients. The objectives were to describe some of the challenges experienced in one of the leading renal care centres in Nigeria during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and analyse the impact of practice changes on select outcomes.
Methods: a retrospective cross-sectional review of haemodialysis activities and kidney transplantation among chronic kidney disease patients was done over a 15-month period ranging from April, 2019 to June, 2021. Data was extracted from the electronic media record (EMR) and analysed using SPSS version 22.
Results: there was an initial significant drop in the number of haemodialysis sessions and kidney transplant surgeries by 16.7% and 66% respectively in the first 2 months of COVID-19 in our centre following the national lockdown. The mean monthly kidney transplant rate was 9±3.29 before the COVID-19 and the national lockdown, this figure reduced to 3.0±0.1 during the lockdown. Activities however normalized at 6 months following the initial lockdowns have remarkable exceeded pre-COVID numbers as at early 2021.
Conclusion: after the initial drop in numbers of patients for haemodialysis and renal transplantation, there was an increase in numbers in the following months. It was instructive to put several steps in place in order to continue to offer high level RRT in the COVID-19 pandemic. RRT can safely be practiced in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keywords: COVID-19; Nigeria; haemodialysis; kidney transplant; renal replacement therapy.
Copyright: Martin Chukwudum Igbokwe et al.
Conflict of interest statement
The authors declare no competing interests