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APRIL 23, 2020 — During a recent webinar by the American Society of Nephrology, Anitha Vijayan, MD, professor of drugs in the Division of Nephrology at Washington College Faculty of Drugs in St. Louis gave a presentation on the Simple Facets of RRT in Hospitalized People with AKI or ESKD. We questioned her to share some of her insights with Medscape.

This interview was edited for size and clarity.

What are the indications for renal substitute treatment (RRT) in individuals with COVID-19?

Anitha Vijayan, MD:  The indications for RRT in individuals with acute kidney injury (AKI) of any etiology are hyperkalemia metabolic acidosis volume overload, uremic manifestations these kinds of as uremic encephalopathy, or pericarditis. We also take into account the severity of oliguria.

Are there any indications specific to COVID-19 or are they typical of ICU individuals with AKI?

COVID-19 individuals have a very high probability of respiratory failure and sometimes it is really difficult to distinguish whether or not this is from volume overload or from pneumonia. Respiratory failure may possibly be the driving drive for initiation of renal substitute treatment in these individuals, and probably in that respect they tend to be a little various.

Do you advise that healthcare administration tactics be fatigued prior to working with RRT?

If the only cause to initiate RRT is respiratory failure and fluid overload, we advise a trial of loop diuretics initial. Of study course, diuretics should not be made use of if you suspect the affected individual is currently hypovolemic, or if they have other indications for RRT these kinds of as uremic manifestation or intense hyperkalemia, etcetera.

Are you delaying RRT longer mainly because of the scarcity of machines or any clinical explanations?

I would say principally for running assets. For the reason that if we start substitute treatment very early for all these individuals, we will run out of machines and other materials.

Is constant renal substitute treatment (CRRT) the desired modality?

CRRT is the desired modality for any critically ill affected individual with AKI, particularly those people who have hemodynamic instability. That is the case, whether or not or not they have COVID-19.

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


No. Convective clearance has not been proven to be remarkable to diffusive clearance, as far as affected individual outcomes are concerned. As I said in the webinar, you should use no matter what modality is out there at your institution.

What about useful resource-clever in phrases of preserving dialysate?

In most circumstances the same prepackaged options are made use of either as substitute fluid (CVVH) or dialysate (CVVHD). Specified machines like the Tablo can produce their personal dialysate, and can only be made use of for CVVHD, and not CVVH. But useful resource-clever, there isn’t any cause to prefer just one modality around the other. It all depends on no matter what machines are out there at your institution.

1 of your suggestions is to lower move charges to maximize assets. Can you elaborate?

Normally for CRRT, we use an effluent move level of about twenty-twenty five mL/kg/hr. That advice is based on the ATN and RENAL studies, revealed in 2008 in 2009, respectively, which compared reduce move charges to greater move charges, and did not show any change as far as outcomes are concerned. Even so, no person has compared twenty-twenty five mL/kg/hr to an even reduce move level these kinds of as fifteen mL/kg/hr so, twenty-twenty five mL should serve as the conventional.

What I was recommending is that the moment individuals obtain metabolic control (steady electrolytes, acidosis underneath control), then you can take into account reducing the move charges to about fifteen mL/kg/hr to preserve assets.

Does prolonged intermittent RRT let you to address additional individuals with just one device?

We use greater move charges for a shorter period with PIRRT. We do CRRT 24 hrs a working day, but with PIRRT you can likely use the device for two (ten hour treatment plans) to 3 individuals (6 hour treatment plans) whilst allowing time to clean and disinfect the device in among. To make sure they are obtaining a affordable amount of money of clearance, we maximize the move level appreciably to approximate a total of twenty-twenty five mL/kg/hr for 24 hrs. Effectively, you compute the fluid necessity for 24 hrs for every working day and divide that by the range of hrs you are really heading to do.


You can do PIRRT on the same device as CRRT and it permits just one device to be made use of for two or 3 individuals but it even now calls for the same volume of fluids.

What about anticoagulation during RRT?

Anticoagulation is very vital in COVID-19, not only in my practical experience but also from speaking about with other folks throughout the region. Just about every single person explained to me that anticoagulation is essential in individuals on RRT, usually the machines are clotting commonly and we are wasting filters and of study course blood.

Systemic anticoagulation with heparin worked for us, but other folks have said that their individuals ended up clotting even with heparin, and they’ve made use of regional citrate anticoagulation or direct thrombin inhibitors these kinds of as argatroban.

If your middle is not working with citrate currently, I don’t advise starting it now mainly because citrate is a sophisticated protocol, even in the ideal palms. In my belief, implementing it rapidly can be a set up for problems and affected individual safety concerns.

What about vascular access?

It really is vital that the suitable size of the catheter be decided on for the suitable vein, and our desired buy for vascular access is the suitable internal jugular (IJ) vein, the femoral veins, and then the left IJ.

1 of your suggestions was a cheat sheet for people today who may possibly not be made use of to putting these catheters, suitable?

Certainly, we created a cheat sheet that we reviewed with our essential treatment colleagues during our daily rounds and created sure it was out there for them in the ICU.

Obtain Internet site

Desired Catheter Length (cm)

Ideal internal jugular




Left internal jugular


Do you advise multidisciplinary rounds?

Certainly, the multidisciplinary rounds have been particularly valuable for collaborating with the essential treatment doctors taking treatment of these individuals. We do them every single early morning, mainly with the essential treatment doctors from pulmonary or anesthesia.

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

No one would advise stockpiling dialysate mainly because that usually means there’s considerably less availability for individuals who genuinely need to have it. I feel the ideal tactic is to chat to your clinic management to get projections of affected individual volumes for your institution, and test to get ready for that.


We ended up blindsided by the amount of money of acute kidney personal injury and the need to have for RRT mainly because we did not get a whole lot of early reviews about this from other nations around the world. Originally all the chat was about ventilators. The incidence in the US of critically ill individuals with AKI needing RRT seems to be about twenty five%. You could get ready for that volume at your institution.

Ought to facilities be cross-education other specialties on how to set up and keep track of RRT tools?

I feel cross-education is vital. We are cross-education nurses in checking dialysis individuals so that the dialysis nurses can consider treatment of additional individuals. At our institution, we planned for that in advance of time, and dealt with it in our preparing paperwork.

You also confirmed some MacGyvering tips for the machines.

I tweeted two pics. 1 was with a affected individual who transpired to be on ECMO [extracorporeal membrane oxygenation], and the tubing of the ECMO is lengthy more than enough to retain the Prisma-Flex device exterior the door.

The Prisma-Flex has an effluent bag that requires to be transformed every single two hrs. 1 of our nurses took that bag and hung it up on an IV pole and enable it drain by gravity back into the toilet inside of the place instead of him obtaining to stand by the sink and

I would warning that affected individual safety always has to occur initial. When blood tubing extensions are included, individuals are at chance for hypothermia and blood reduction. Affected person safety always trumps any of these maneuvers.

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

I am not informed of direct toxicity from these medications at this time, but, like most medications, when individuals have acute kidney personal injury, the doses have to be adjusted to avoid other types of toxicity from treatment accumulation. 

Some of these individuals will even now need to have dialysis following discharge. Any worries about that?

That is a very vital place which we are seeing in New York. Even prior to COVID-19, I always explained to my critically ill individuals and their families that the kidneys are the very last organ to occur back.


The need to have for dialysis always lasts longer than the need to have for a ventilator. These individuals involve dialysis following they leave the ICU, and sometimes following they leave the clinic. Transitioning them to outpatient hemodialysis services has been difficult in some circumstances, unless of course they are confirmed to be COVID unfavorable. Services will acknowledge them for treatment presented they have repeat testing to show that they are unfavorable for COVID.

Does that necessity indicate you have to retain them in clinic longer than you would usually? 

Certainly. We may possibly have to retain them longer to make sure that we have a facility who will acknowledge them.

An additional nephrologist 


that kidney personal injury may possibly be just one of the top rated lengthy phrase sequelae from COVID-19. Would you concur?

Perhaps. People who put up with from AKI have lengthy-phrase consequences, particularly if they have intense AKI. So they may possibly be left with chronic kidney disorder. They will surely need to have lengthy-phrase nephrology treatment and shut follow-up.

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

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

The other populace that we did not examine significantly is the stop-stage kidney disorder populace — these individuals are currently susceptible to infections, as they tend to be more mature, and to have a weaker immune program. They are also additional uncovered mainly because they are sitting in a facility with other individuals 3 moments a 7 days for dialysis.

We have had individuals with stop-stage kidney disorder contract COVID-19. As far as their outcomes, I don’t feel we have more than enough info to say how they fare compared to individuals with COVID and acute kidney personal injury.

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

I would say that running kidney disorder in COVID individuals has been particularly challenging for all people throughout the US partly mainly because we ended up not organized. It is relatively shocking to me that we did not listen to additional about the nephrology areas from other nations around the world who ended up strike prior to the United States. And we even now need to have to study additional about the exact pathophysiology of the AKI from COVID-19 and its lengthy-phrase sequelae. 


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

Tricia Ward is an government editor at Medscape who principally handles cardiology and nephrology. She is based in New York City and you can follow her 

on Twitter @_triciaward

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