COVID-19 in kidney transplant recipients; an Indian experience

Bendalam Gouthami, Nagraj D. Naik, Mahesh Bennikal, Shankar Prasad Nagaraju, Ravindra Prabhu Attur, Indu Ramachandra Rao, Vishal Shanbhag, Manjunath Revanasiddappa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Kidney transplant recipients appear to be at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to chronic immunosuppression and coexisting conditions. Objectives: We aimed to study the clinical characteristics, laboratory and radiological results, treatment aspects and clinical outcomes of kidney transplant patients with COVID-19. Patient and Methods: Twenty consecutive kidney transplant patients with COVID-19 pneumonia from two tertiary care centers from India were retrospectively studied from July 1 to Oct 31, 2020. Results: Of 20 patients, 18 required admission; mean age was 42.8±9.39 years and 18 out of 20 (90%) were male. Symptom onset to testing time was a mean of 3.05±1.47 days. All patients were on triple immunosuppression. The median time since transplantation to COVID-19 was 3.75 years (IQR 2.37-5.41). Fever, cough and breathlessness were the most common presenting symptoms. Nine out of twenty (45%) had severe COVID-19 while six out of 20 (30%) required intensive care. Twelve (60%) patients had lymphopenia. Additionally mycophenolate was withheld in seventeen out of twenty (85 %) and enoxaparin and intravenous methylprednisolone were administered in all hospitalized patients while remdesivir was prescribed in 16 out of 20 (80%). Moreover, acute kidney injury (AKI) was seen in five out of 20 (25%) since one of died (5%). After a median hospital stay of 8.5 days (IQR 6.75-15.5), seventeen patients were discharged from the hospital. Conclusion: COVID-19 infection in kidney transplant recipients is usually a moderate-severe form. COVID-19 should be a differential diagnosis for fever in this high-risk population however lymphopenia may not be seen in all. Antimetabolite withdrawal, intravenous steroid, anticoagulation and early remdesivir were all found to be safe and effective strategies for improving outcomes. Early diagnosis and timely treatment may decrease mortality in this high-risk population.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere17232
JournalJournal of Nephropathology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 04-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nephrology


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