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APRIL 23, 2020 — 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 College of Drugs in St. Louis gave a presentation on the Functional Elements of RRT in Hospitalized Sufferers with AKI or ESKD. We requested her to share some of her insights with Medscape.

This interview was edited for size and clarity.

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

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

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

COVID-19 patients have a quite significant probability of respiratory failure and in some cases it truly is hard to distinguish regardless of whether this is from quantity overload or from pneumonia. Respiratory failure may be the driving drive for initiation of renal substitution remedy in these patients, and perhaps in that respect they tend to be a small distinctive.

Do you propose that healthcare management approaches be fatigued ahead of employing RRT?

If the only purpose to initiate RRT is respiratory failure and fluid overload, we propose a demo of loop diuretics very first. Of class, diuretics should really not be utilized if you suspect the individual is currently hypovolemic, or if they have other indications for RRT these types of as uremic manifestation or critical hyperkalemia, and so forth.

Are you delaying RRT lengthier because of the lack of equipment or any medical causes?

I would say principally for taking care of means. Because if we start substitution remedy quite early for all these patients, we will run out of equipment and other supplies.

Is continuous renal substitution remedy (CRRT) the favored modality?

CRRT is the favored modality for any critically ill individual with AKI, in particular those people who have hemodynamic instability. That is the scenario, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19.

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


No. Convective clearance has not been shown to be exceptional to diffusive clearance, as significantly as individual outcomes are concerned. As I said in the webinar, you should really use what ever modality is obtainable at your establishment.

What about source-clever in conditions of preserving dialysate?

In most cases the exact same prepackaged remedies are utilized both as substitution fluid (CVVH) or dialysate (CVVHD). Specified equipment like the Tablo can create their possess dialysate, and can only be utilized for CVVHD, and not CVVH. But source-clever, there isn’t really any purpose to prefer a single modality around the other. It all relies upon on what ever equipment are obtainable at your establishment.

Just one of your tips is to decrease stream prices to improve means. Can you elaborate?

Generally for CRRT, we use an effluent stream level of about 20-25 mL/kg/hr. That suggestion is based mostly on the ATN and RENAL studies, printed in 2008 in 2009, respectively, which in comparison lower stream prices to larger stream prices, and did not show any change as significantly as outcomes are concerned. On the other hand, no one has in comparison 20-25 mL/kg/hr to an even lower stream level these types of as fifteen mL/kg/hr so, 20-25 mL should really serve as the normal.

What I was recommending is that the moment patients accomplish metabolic command (secure electrolytes, acidosis underneath command), then you can contemplate decreasing the stream prices to about fifteen mL/kg/hr to conserve means.

Does extended intermittent RRT allow for you to deal with a lot more patients with a single machine?

We use larger stream prices for a shorter length with PIRRT. We do CRRT 24 several hours a day, but with PIRRT you can most likely use the machine for two (ten hour therapies) to three patients (six hour therapies) when letting time to clean up and disinfect the machine in in between. To guarantee they’re achieving a reasonable quantity of clearance, we increase the stream level appreciably to approximate a full of 20-25 mL/kg/hr for 24 several hours. In essence, you work out the fluid prerequisite for 24 several hours for each day and divide that by the number of several hours you happen to be in fact likely to do.


You can do PIRRT on the exact same machine as CRRT and it lets a single machine to be utilized for two or three patients but it however involves the exact same quantity of fluids.

What about anticoagulation for the duration of RRT?

Anticoagulation is quite important in COVID-19, not only in my expertise but also from discussing with other folks throughout the nation. Every solitary human being advised me that anticoagulation is significant in patients on RRT, otherwise the equipment are clotting often and we are wasting filters and of class blood.

Systemic anticoagulation with heparin worked for us, but other folks have said that their patients had been clotting regardless 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 currently, I don’t propose starting up it now because citrate is a complex protocol, even in the finest arms. In my opinion, utilizing it hastily can be a set up for glitches and individual protection concerns.

What about vascular accessibility?

It really is important that the appropriate size of the catheter be picked out for the appropriate vein, and our favored get for vascular accessibility is the appropriate internal jugular (IJ) vein, the femoral veins, and then the remaining IJ.

Just one of your tips was a cheat sheet for folks who may not be utilized to putting these catheters, appropriate?

Of course, we built a cheat sheet that we mentioned with our significant care colleagues for the duration of our every day rounds and built confident it was obtainable for them in the ICU.

Obtain Site

Most popular Catheter Size (cm)

Proper internal jugular




Remaining internal jugular


Do you propose multidisciplinary rounds?

Of course, the multidisciplinary rounds have been exceptionally useful for collaborating with the significant care medical professionals taking care of these patients. We do them every early morning, mostly with the significant care medical professionals from pulmonary or anesthesia.

What would you recommend hospitals planning for a surge — should really they be buying/borrowing equipment or stockpiling dialysate?

Nobody would propose stockpiling dialysate because that implies there is certainly significantly less availability for individuals who truly require it. I feel the finest tactic is to communicate to your medical center leadership to get projections of individual volumes for your establishment, and consider to get ready for that.


We had been blindsided by the quantity of acute kidney injuries and the require for RRT because we did not get a ton of early reviews about this from other nations around the world. Initially all the communicate was about ventilators. The incidence in the US of critically ill patients with AKI needing RRT seems to be about 25{de67ab9575e0f65325df988e3a8731ef61b975ae2223cdff83ba315b2ed86bd4}. You could get ready for that quantity at your establishment.

Really should facilities be cross-teaching other specialties on how to established up and keep an eye on RRT gear?

I feel cross-teaching is important. We are cross-teaching nurses in monitoring dialysis patients so that the dialysis nurses can take care of a lot more patients. At our establishment, we planned for that in advance of time, and dealt with it in our arranging documents.

You also showed some MacGyvering tips for the equipment.

I tweeted two pics. Just one was with a individual who occurred to be on ECMO [extracorporeal membrane oxygenation], and the tubing of the ECMO is prolonged plenty of to preserve the Prisma-Flex machine exterior the door.

The Prisma-Flex has an effluent bag that wants to be altered every two several hours. Just one of our nurses took that bag and hung it up on an IV pole and enable it drain by gravity back into the bathroom inside the room instead of him having to stand by the sink and

I would warning that individual protection always has to occur very first. When blood tubing extensions are included, patients are at possibility for hypothermia and blood loss. Affected individual protection always trumps any of these maneuvers.

Is there any problem about renal toxicity of the therapies for COVID-19?

I’m not mindful of direct toxicity from these remedies at this time, but, like most remedies, any time patients have acute kidney injuries, the doses have to be altered to protect against other types of toxicity from medicine accumulation. 

Some of these patients will however require dialysis right after discharge. Any concerns about that?

That is a quite important point which we are observing in New York. Even ahead of COVID-19, I always advised my critically ill patients and their people that the kidneys are the past organ to occur back.


The require for dialysis always lasts lengthier than the require for a ventilator. These patients call for dialysis right after they go away the ICU, and in some cases right after they go away the medical center. Transitioning them to outpatient hemodialysis services has been hard in some cases, except if they’re demonstrated to be COVID detrimental. Facilities will accept them for treatment supplied they have repeat tests to show that they’re detrimental for COVID.

Does that prerequisite signify you have to preserve them in medical center lengthier than you would typically? 

Of course. We may have to preserve them lengthier to make confident that we have a facility who will accept them.

A further nephrologist 


that kidney injuries may be a single of the top prolonged phrase sequelae from COVID-19. Would you concur?

Probably. Sufferers who suffer from AKI have prolonged-phrase effects, in particular if they have critical AKI. So they may be remaining with chronic kidney disorder. They will certainly require prolonged-phrase nephrology care and close stick to-up.

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

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

The other population that we didn’t talk about a lot is the conclude-stage kidney disorder population — these patients are currently vulnerable to infections, as they tend to be older, and to have a weaker immune procedure. They are also a lot more uncovered because they’re sitting down in a facility with other patients three situations a 7 days for dialysis.

We’ve had patients with conclude-stage kidney disorder deal COVID-19. As significantly as their outcomes, I don’t feel we have plenty of data to say how they fare in comparison to patients with COVID and acute kidney injuries.

Is there anything at all else you would like to convey to our readers?

I would say that taking care of kidney disorder in COVID patients has been exceptionally complicated for absolutely everyone throughout the US partly because we had been not prepared. It is relatively surprising to me that we didn’t listen to a lot more about the nephrology aspects from other nations around the world who had been hit ahead of the United States. And we however require to find out a lot more about the actual pathophysiology of the AKI from COVID-19 and its prolonged-phrase sequelae. 


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

Tricia Ward is an executive editor at Medscape who principally covers cardiology and nephrology. She is based mostly in New York City and you can stick to her 

on Twitter @_triciaward

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