Sunday, October 18, 2020

Concept Map: Glomerular Diseases with Immunotherapy

 A recent systematic review discussed GNs cases seen with immune checkpoint inhibitors. This concept map( part of the paper) is displayed here.

The above review was done before the listed two articles were published 

Even after addition of the above cases, vasculitis would still be the most common and podocytopathies following that. C3 GN would be the third most common. 

Detective Nephron: Next Venture


Check out the next venture of Detective Nephron in the Oct 2020 issue of Kidney News.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Topic Discussion: Outcomes of AKI in COVID-19

 As COVID19 surged the NY area, March-May 2020 is when the AKI surge happened at most northeast hospitals. Initial reports from us and others showed that the incidence of AKI was high- close to 40%. 

At that time, almost 39% of patients were still admitted. Now there are 99% discharged allowing for complete outcome analysis. Here is our data on the outcomes of AKI in AJKD when all have been discharged. 

The aim of this study was to investigate in-hospital death and kidney outcomes among hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and AKI.  We reviewed health records of 9657 patients hospitalized with #COVID-19 between March1- April 27th, 2020, and followed up to the day of discharge/death. The data was from 13 hospitals. To investigate the impact of AKI on in-hospital death, we performed cox regression using AKI as a time-varying exposure and in-hospital death as the outcome.

In the cohort 40% of patients developed AKI (incidence rate of 38.3 per 1000 patient-days). Those who developed AKI had higher proportion with DM, heart disease, chronic kidney disease and had a more severe illness. The death rate was much higher in the AKI requiring dialysis( 6.4 times more) compared to AKI not requiring dialysis (3.4 times more) compared to no AKI. 

What matters to us is what happens to patients who survived? - how many had CKD, how many were sent on dialysis?  The big finding-- Among patients with AKI non-dialysis requiring who had survived, 74% had kidney recovery at the time of discharge. For patients with AKI-on dialysis and survived, 67% had kidney recovery at discharge. For the remainder who did not have kidney recovery, 91.7% remained on dialysis at the time of discharge.  Among those with AKI-on dialysis who survived, the presence of chronic kidney disease was the only independent risk factor associated with need for dialysis at discharge. 60 and 90 day outcomes are lacking and will be eventually useful. 

Regardless of need for dialysis or kidney recovery at discharge, hospitalized COVID-19 patients who experienced any form of AKI should be followed closely post-discharge to assess ongoing kidney function.  Our 13 hospital sites were all in metropolitan NY during the early part of the pandemic; is the major limitation.  

So in patients hospitalized with #COVID-19, those with AKI was associated with higher risk of death, particularly among those who needed dialysis. Most surviving patients with AKI had kidney recovery upon discharge.

Another recent study from a NY metro area showed similar findings in JASN.  Of 3993 hospitalized patients with COVID-19, AKI occurred in 1835 (46%) patients; 347 (19%) of the patients with AKI required dialysis. Of survivors with AKI who were discharged, 35% had not recovered to baseline kidney function by the time of discharge. An additional 36% patients who had not recovered kidney function at discharge did so on posthospital follow-up.

Finally, a research letter in CJASN showed some outcomes data from yet another NY center. Patients with AKI had higher mortality than patients without AKI (40% versus 8%).  Among the patients with AKI, 48% recovered to their baseline kidney function. Among the 52% who did not recover to their baseline kidney function, 43 received dialysis, among which 34 were dialysis dependent and 26 died (60%), and 111 did not receive dialysis, among which 80 (72%) died.  

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Consult Rounds: Hyponatremia from Anti depressants

 As nephrologists we often get called on SIADH from medications. Anti depressants a class of agents that we do consider to cause hyponatremia. Which ones are more likely vs others has always been interesting to know? A study from Denmark has a detailed look into this matter. 

The odds of developing hyponatremia in one large study was the highest in clomipramine, followed by nortriptyline, citalopram, paroxetine, duloxetine, venlafaxine, sertraline and amitriptyline. It had the least odds of association with mirtazapine, mianserin and escitalopram. The development was highest in the first 2 weeks of starting treatment( with the highest incidence of hyponatremia in the first 2 weeks in citalopram and lowest in mianserin. 

So, SSRI had the most association, SNRIs had slightly lower and non adrenergic specific serotogenic antidepressants had the least association. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Topic Discussion: Gut Microbiota and UTIs


A Gut Microbiota – Urinary Tract Infection Connection

It is presumed that gut bacteria are the source for urinary tract infection, but is there any proof? If so, could changing the gut microbiota impact urinary tract infection?

Lee et al. evaluated this premise in a cohort of 168 kidney transplant recipients and profiled the gut microbiota serially using 16S rRNA deep sequencing. They reported that having higher gut abundance of E. coli was a risk factor for development of E. coli. They further performed strain analysis on matched fecal-urine specimens and found that the E. coli in the urine most closely resemble the E. coli in the gut from the same patients, supporting a gut origin of UTIs .

A follow up analysis identified that the gut abundances of two commensal bacteria, Faecalibacterium and Romboutsia, are associated with a decreased risk for UTIs

The data suggest the possibility that manipulation of the gut microbiota could alter the balance of commensal bacteria and pathogenic bacteria and could decrease the risk of UTIs, especially in patients with recurrent UTIs. Indeed, there is some recent evidence in case reports. In a case series by Tariq et al., patients with recurrent UTIs and recurrent C. difficile infections underwent fecal microbial transplantation for recurrent C. difficile infections and had a significant decrease in the number of UTIs after fecal microbial transplantation.

Whether gut microbial-based therapies can break the cycle of recurrent UTIs is still not known. Nevertheless, these therapies could be a novel approach to treating this common problem.

Image credit:

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Topic Discussion: ESRD patients and COVID-19

Kidneys And Covid-19: Renal Manifestations Of The Novel Coronavirus

While we saw several rising cases of AKI associated with COVID-19, the ESKD population was also vulnerable to this virus. With COVID-19, we didn't know if we would see worsening effects on ESRD or beneficial ( given a not so robust immune system in ESRD).  But the proximity and being in a closed dialysis unit did put most of them at risk. 

Studies from China and Europe on ESKD patients with COVID-19 were limited to small numbers and single centers. One of the first studies from US from CUMC was limited by less then 100 patients as well. It did show poor outcomes of 59 patients where 31% had died.

A Study from UK did discuss the concerns for an urban dialysis center ( on risk of hospitalizations). Of 1530 patients (median age 66 years; 58.2% men) receiving dialysis, 300 (19.6%) developed COVID-19 infection, creating a large demand for isolated outpatient dialysis and inpatient beds. An analysis that included 1219 patients attending satellite dialysis clinics found that older age was a risk factor for infection. COVID-19 infection was substantially more likely to occur among patients on in-center dialysis compared with those dialyzing at home. 

A study from the Bronx in NY also showed poor outcomes for hospitalized ESKD patients. Elevated inflammatory markers were associated with in hospital death.

Another UK study also found a high prevalence of seropositivity in the outpatient dialysis units. 

Alberici et al.describe their clinical experience with MHD patients cared for at 4 outpatient dialysis facilities that are part of the Brescia Renal COVID Task Force. In a period of 1 month, viral positivity was detected in 94 of their 643 ESRD HD patients (15%). Important findings in the study were the mild form of symptomatology at presentation, the high rate of overall mortality (29%), and emergence of usual risk factors for mortality and acute respiratory distress syndrome in SARS-CoV-2–positive HD patients. In addition, although certain patients were deemed more stable and were managed in the outpatient facility, 3 of those subsequently died, and a substantial portion had significant worsening of their symptoms.

Goicoechea et al. describe the clinical course and outcomes of 36 patients from 2 dialysis facilities caring for 282 patients that were admitted to a tertiary hospital in Madrid based on positive reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction for SARS-CoV-2. They report a mortality rate of 30.5%, and 33% of their patients required mechanical ventilation. 

At our health system of over 23 hospitals in NY, we decided to compare the outcomes of ESKD patients to non ESKD patients. The data was from 13 hospitals and our final cohort had 419 (4%) with ESKD and 10,063 (96%) without ESKD.This is the largest study to date.

What did we find:( similar tweetorial by first author Jia Ng)

1. Patients with ESKD were older, had a greater percentage self-identified as Black, and more comorbid conditions.

2. Patients with ESKD had a higher rate of in-hospital death than those without (31.7% vs 25.4%), odds ratio 1.38, 95% confidence interval 1.12 - 1.70). This increase rate remained after adjusting for demographic and comorbid conditions (adjusted odds ratio 1.37, 1.09 - 1.73).

3. Patients with ESKD had similar rates of mechanical ventilation as those without ESKD (89 [21.2%] vs 2076 [20.6%]). There was no difference in the odds of mechanical ventilation between the groups.

4. The odds of length of stay of seven or more days was higher in the group with compared to the group without ESKD in both the crude (1.62, 95%CI 1.27 - 2.06) and in the adjusted analysis (1.57, 95% 1.22 - 2.02)

5. We conducted stratified analyses to investigate the risk factors of death in the subgroups of ESKD and the non-ESKD separately, with the hypothesis that the risk factors of death and the magnitude of risk factors would differ between the two groups.

6. For patients without ESKD, the independent risk factors for in-hospital death increased age, male sex, cardiovascular disease, cancer, requiring ventilation, requiring vasoactive meds, high blood urea nitrogen, low albumin, high CRP and high ferritin.

7. The diagnosis of hypertension and use of an ACE inhibitor or ARB were associated with a lower risk of in-hospital death in the non-ESKD group.

8. Among patients with ESKD, independent risk factors for in-hospital death were increased age, requiring ventilation and lymphopenia, elevated BUN and high serum ferritin. Black race was associated with a significantly lower risk of death among patients with ESKD.

9. The protective effect of HTN in the non-EKSD group, and the protective effect of Black race in the ESKD group defy easy explanation. Perhaps APOL1 has some protective cardiac effect?

10. This is a large cohort of hospitalized patients with #COVID-19 comparing ESKD and non-ESKD in a diverse patient population. We had prespecified operational definitions for exposures, covariates and outcomes, as well as rigorous adjudication by two independent reviewers for ESKD exposure.

11. What limitations do we have?--Despite the larger size of this study compared to other reports, the ESKD sample may still have been relatively underpowered to find other statistically significant risk factors in mortality. Also there was inability to adjust for remdesivir and dexamethasone. As the evidence of these 2 drugs came after the surge of #COVID-19 cases in our health system, only a small proportion of patients received these drugs.

12. We had 11 PD patients in our admitted cohort. This was also published in a special report as well. Of 419 hospitalized patients with ESKD, 11 were on chronic PD therapy (2.6%). Among those 11, 3 patients required mechanical ventilation, 2 of whom died. Of the entire cohort, 9 of the 11 patients (82%) were discharged alive. While fever was a common presentation, more than half of our patients also presented with diarrhea. Interestingly, 3 patients were diagnosed with culture-negative peritonitis during their hospitalization. Seven patients reported positive SARS-CoV-2 exposure from a member of their household.

In conclusion, among patients hospitalized with COVID-19, those with ESKD had a higher rate of in-hospital death compared to those without ESKD. 

Two recent studies also show the outpatient HD infection and admission rates. A study published in AJKD from Canada showed from universal screening, 4.6% were infected. 

Another French study in KI showed a low incidence of infection of 3.3% in a large >40,000 dialysis patients. Older age, low albumin, and cardiac disease were risk factors for mortality. 

Taken together, the results suggest both a need for further research and the continued need for careful infection control procedures in the ESKD population at risk for #COVID-19.

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