COVID-19 patients with AKI (acute kidney injury) were 6.5 times more likely than their peers to require mechanical ventilation and stay in the hospital an additional 5.6 days. They were also 6.7 times more likely to die of their illness, a link that was particularly strong in blacks. Of the 832 veterans with coronavirus who died, 559 (34%) had AKI, compared with 273 (8%) of those who didn’t.
Two-hundred-one of 1,655 patients with AKI (12%) required kidney replacement treatments such as dialysis. But during the study period, rates of AKI fell from 40% to 27%, and numbers needing kidney replacement therapy declined from 44% to 17%.
There was significant geographic variation in rates of AKI, ranging from 10% to 56%, with higher rates seen in areas in which hospitals cared for higher proportions of black veterans. The authors said that the proportion of black patients explained 31% of the geographical variation in AKI rates and 49% of the variation over time.