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APRIL 23, 2020 — During a recent webinar by the American Society of Nephrology, Anitha Vijayan, MD, professor of medication in the Division of Nephrology at Washington University College of Medicine in St. Louis gave a presentation on the Practical Features of RRT in Hospitalized Clients with AKI or ESKD. We asked 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 sufferers with COVID-19?

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

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

COVID-19 sufferers have a quite substantial chance of respiratory failure and from time to time it’s challenging to distinguish regardless of whether this is from quantity overload or from pneumonia. Respiratory failure could be the driving power for initiation of renal substitution remedy in these sufferers, and probably in that regard they have a tendency to be a small distinct.

Do you recommend that medical management techniques be exhausted just before working with RRT?

If the only cause to initiate RRT is respiratory failure and fluid overload, we recommend a demo of loop diuretics first. Of training course, diuretics must not be made use of if you suspect the affected person is presently hypovolemic, or if they have other indications for RRT these as uremic manifestation or serious hyperkalemia, etcetera.

Are you delaying RRT lengthier because of the shortage of devices or any scientific factors?

I would say primarily for managing resources. Due to the fact if we start substitution remedy quite early for all these sufferers, we will operate out of devices and other materials.

Is continuous renal substitution remedy (CRRT) the most well-liked modality?

CRRT is the most well-liked modality for any critically unwell affected person with AKI, specifically those who have hemodynamic instability. That’s the circumstance, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19.

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


No. Convective clearance has not been revealed to be remarkable to diffusive clearance, as much as affected person outcomes are anxious. As I explained in the webinar, you must use regardless of what modality is offered at your institution.

What about source-sensible in phrases of preserving dialysate?

In most instances the very same prepackaged remedies are made use of either as substitution fluid (CVVH) or dialysate (CVVHD). Certain devices like the Tablo can produce their individual dialysate, and can only be made use of for CVVHD, and not CVVH. But source-sensible, there isn’t really any cause to favor a person modality around the other. It all depends on regardless of what devices are offered at your institution.

1 of your recommendations is to reduce circulation prices to optimize resources. Can you elaborate?

Ordinarily for CRRT, we use an effluent circulation level of about twenty-twenty five mL/kg/hr. That recommendation is primarily based on the ATN and RENAL studies, printed in 2008 in 2009, respectively, which when compared reduced circulation prices to higher circulation prices, and did not clearly show any variance as much as outcomes are anxious. Nevertheless, nobody has when compared twenty-twenty five mL/kg/hr to an even reduced circulation level these as fifteen mL/kg/hr so, twenty-twenty five mL must serve as the regular.

What I was recommending is that at the time sufferers accomplish metabolic management (stable electrolytes, acidosis less than management), then you can think about decreasing the circulation prices to about fifteen mL/kg/hr to conserve resources.

Does extended intermittent RRT permit you to handle much more sufferers with a person device?

We use higher circulation prices for a shorter period with PIRRT. We do CRRT 24 hours a day, but with PIRRT you can possibly use the device for two (10 hour treatment plans) to a few sufferers (six hour treatment plans) though permitting time to clear and disinfect the device in between. To ensure they are accomplishing a fair sum of clearance, we improve the circulation level appreciably to approximate a overall of twenty-twenty five mL/kg/hr for 24 hours. Essentially, you compute the fluid requirement for 24 hours per day and divide that by the amount of hours you’re basically going to do.


You can do PIRRT on the very same device as CRRT and it makes it possible for a person device to be made use of for two or a few sufferers but it nonetheless demands the very same quantity of fluids.

What about anticoagulation through RRT?

Anticoagulation is quite critical in COVID-19, not only in my working experience but also from talking about with many others across the state. Each one man or woman instructed me that anticoagulation is essential in sufferers on RRT, otherwise the devices are clotting frequently and we’re squandering filters and of training course blood.

Systemic anticoagulation with heparin worked for us, but many others have explained that their sufferers were clotting inspite of heparin, and they have made use of regional citrate anticoagulation or direct thrombin inhibitors these as argatroban.

If your middle is not working with citrate presently, I you should not recommend beginning it now because citrate is a complex protocol, even in the greatest fingers. In my impression, utilizing it rapidly can be a setup for glitches and affected person basic safety problems.

What about vascular access?

It’s critical that the proper size of the catheter be picked for the proper vein, and our most well-liked purchase for vascular access is the proper inside jugular (IJ) vein, the femoral veins, and then the left IJ.

1 of your recommendations was a cheat sheet for persons who may not be made use of to inserting these catheters, proper?

Certainly, we produced a cheat sheet that we discussed with our essential care colleagues through our daily rounds and produced sure it was offered for them in the ICU.

Accessibility Internet site

Desired Catheter Length (cm)

Proper inside jugular




Left inside jugular


Do you recommend multidisciplinary rounds?

Certainly, the multidisciplinary rounds have been really practical for collaborating with the essential care physicians having care of these sufferers. We do them each individual early morning, generally with the essential care physicians from pulmonary or anesthesia.

What would you advise hospitals making ready for a surge — must they be acquiring/borrowing devices or stockpiling dialysate?

No person would recommend stockpiling dialysate because that means you will find significantly less availability for people who genuinely want it. I feel the greatest tactic is to chat to your clinic management to get projections of affected person volumes for your institution, and check out to get ready for that.


We were blindsided by the sum of acute kidney harm and the want for RRT because we did not get a large amount of early reviews about this from other nations. In the beginning all the chat was about ventilators. The incidence in the US of critically unwell sufferers with AKI needing RRT seems to be about twenty five%. You could get ready for that quantity at your institution.

Should facilities be cross-education other specialties on how to set up and watch RRT machines?

I feel cross-education is critical. We are cross-education nurses in checking dialysis sufferers so that the dialysis nurses can take care of much more sufferers. At our institution, we prepared for that forward of time, and dealt with it in our preparing files.

You also showed some MacGyvering tips for the devices.

I tweeted two photos. 1 was with a affected person who occurred to be on ECMO [extracorporeal membrane oxygenation], and the tubing of the ECMO is prolonged adequate to keep the Prisma-Flex device outdoors the door.

The Prisma-Flex has an effluent bag that wants to be adjusted each individual 2 hours. 1 of our nurses took that bag and hung it up on an IV pole and permit it drain by gravity back again into the bathroom inside the space in its place of him owning to stand by the sink and

I would warning that affected person basic safety normally has to come first. When blood tubing extensions are additional, sufferers are at possibility for hypothermia and blood reduction. Individual basic safety normally trumps any of these maneuvers.

Is there any issue about renal toxicity of the treatment plans for COVID-19?

I’m not knowledgeable of direct toxicity from these drugs at this time, but, like most drugs, anytime sufferers have acute kidney harm, the doses have to be adjusted to protect against other sorts of toxicity from treatment accumulation. 

Some of these sufferers will nonetheless want dialysis after discharge. Any issues about that?

That’s a quite critical point which we’re looking at in New York. Even just before COVID-19, I normally instructed my critically unwell sufferers and their families that the kidneys are the last organ to come back again.


The want for dialysis normally lasts lengthier than the want for a ventilator. These sufferers have to have dialysis after they depart the ICU, and from time to time after they depart the clinic. Transitioning them to outpatient hemodialysis amenities has been challenging in some situations, unless they are tested to be COVID negative. Services will settle for them for procedure provided they have repeat testing to demonstrate that they are negative for COVID.

Does that requirement necessarily mean you have to keep them in clinic lengthier than you would commonly? 

Certainly. We could have to keep them lengthier to make sure that we have a facility who will settle for them.

Another nephrologist 


that kidney harm could be a person of the major prolonged term sequelae from COVID-19. Would you agree?

Quite possibly. Clients who undergo from AKI have prolonged-term outcomes, specifically if they have serious AKI. So they could be left with chronic kidney disorder. They will undoubtedly want prolonged-term nephrology care and close comply with-up.

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

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

The other populace that we failed to explore considerably is the conclude-stage kidney disorder populace — these sufferers are presently susceptible to infections, as they have a tendency to be older, and to have a weaker immune system. They are also much more uncovered because they are sitting in a facility with other sufferers a few instances a week for dialysis.

We’ve had sufferers with conclude-stage kidney disorder deal COVID-19. As much as their outcomes, I you should not feel we have adequate knowledge to say how they fare when compared to sufferers with COVID and acute kidney harm.

Is there just about anything else you would like to convey to our viewers?

I would say that managing kidney disorder in COVID sufferers has been really demanding for all people across the US partly because we were not ready. It is considerably shocking to me that we failed to listen to much more about the nephrology facets from other nations who were strike just before the United States. And we nonetheless want to find out much more about the correct pathophysiology of the AKI from COVID-19 and its prolonged-term sequelae. 


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

Tricia Ward is an executive editor at Medscape who primarily addresses cardiology and nephrology. She is primarily based in New York Metropolis and you can comply with her 

on Twitter @_triciaward

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