COVID-19 in chronic dialysis patients: one year of pandemic in Argentina

  • Healthcare related infections
  • Chronic disease
  • Vaccine preventable diseases
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Background:
The characteristics of chronic dialysis (CD) patients may imply that the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection could be greater than in the general population. However, information related to this topic in Latin America is limited. This study aimed to describe the COVID-19 pandemic in CD patients in Argentina.

Methods:
A cross-sectional study was performed on COVID-19 cases reported to the National Health Surveillance System between March 2020 and February 2021. A clinical, demographic and epidemiological description was made in CD patients compared with the general population.

Results:
During the period under analysis, 2,496 COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in CD patients (2,107,676 nationwide) with a cumulative incidence almost two-fold the national rate (83 cases per 1,000 CD patients vs 46 cases per 1,000 population). The median age in CD patients was higher than the general population’s (60 vs 37 years, p<0,05), while the median age of deceased cases was lower (67 vs 73 years, p<0,05). The case-fatality rate (CFR) in CD patients was 24%, ten-fold the national value (2,4%). From the 20-29 years age group on, the CFR in CD patients was significantly higher compared to the general population. 87% of cases in CD patients had one or more symptoms (53% in the general population). The temporal and geographical trends in both groups were similar but the proportion of cases classified as close contact transmission was higher for CD patients.

Conclusions:
The incidence and CFR due to COVID-19 in CD patients was markedly higher than in the general population. When analysed by age, SARS-CoV-2 infections in CD patients had a higher CFR in younger age groups. These findings evidence the particular vulnerability of CD patients in the pandemic and the importance of developing control and prevention strategies for this population.

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