Diaverum, a leading global renal care service provider headquartered in Sweden, has conducted a large multi-national study that determines factors affecting incidence and outcome of COVID-19 in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) receiving hemodialysis treatment.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a particularly hard impact on patients with chronic diseases. Worldwide, almost 3 million people receive regular dialysis treatment, with preliminary reports indicating that mortality from COVID-19 is especially high among these patients.

Dr Fernando Macário, Diaverum’s chief medical officer, said: “The results of our study indicate that patients with chronic kidney disease are among the groups with the greatest risk for serious complications and should therefore be granted the highest priority for preventive measures against COVID-19, including early vaccination.”

The study, comprising more than 38,000 dialysis patients, is one of the largest multi-national investigations of COVID-19 incidence and complications in hemodialysis patients to date. Some key findings are:

  • older age and treatment with angiotensin II receptor antagonists among hemodialysis patients are associated with a lower incidence of COVID-19; while overweight, living in a nursing home and a lower educational level show correlation with a higher incidence;
  • increased mortality among hemodialysis patients with COVID-19 was associated with older age, previous cardiovascular disease, longer time on dialysis and male sex; while mortality tracked lower in patients with AV-fistulas compared to other dialysis access types.

Dr Mathias Haarhaus, Diaverum’s director for science and research development and coordinator of the current study, said: “Our presence in 22 countries enables us to study the effect of socio-economic and cultural differences on the severity of the disease. By using our resources and by evaluating the Diaverum preventive strategy, we hope to contribute to the worldwide fight against the pandemic, with meaningful scientific knowledge.”

The full results from Diaverum’s COVID-19 study – ‘Risks prediction of COVID-19 incidence, and mortality in a large multi-national hemodialysis cohort: Implications for management of the pandemic in outpatient hemodialysis settings’ – have been published in the Clinical Kidney Journal, an official organ of the European Renal Association-European Dialysis and Transplantation Association and a leading scientific journal in nephrology. The results are also available on Diaverum’s global website.

As COVID-19 vaccination campaigns continue to be rolled out around the world, Diaverum is now preparing an observational study of the efficacy and safety of COVID-19 vaccines in hemodialysis patients.

The company continues to work closely with national health systems in the country it operates to ensure that these patients are assigned high priority for COVID-19 vaccination.

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