Tamil Nadu

166 COVID-19 patients undergo dialysis at RGGGH facility

Rising to the occasion: The Institute of Nephrology, Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, has a COVID-19 dialysis unit with 10 stations.

Rising to the occasion: The Institute of Nephrology, Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, has a COVID-19 dialysis unit with 10 stations.   | Photo Credit: K_Pichumani

Most patients were referred from hospitals around Chennai

Setting up a dedicated dialysis facility for end stage renal disease patients who tested positive for SARS CoV-2 infection, the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) has so far handled 166 patients since March-end. A majority of them were referred from hospitals in and around Chennai.

N. Gopalakrishnan, director of Institute of Nephrology, RGGGH, and his team set up a COVID-19 dialysis unit with 10 stations after they started to receive patients who tested positive for the infection.

“So far, 166 patients known to have chronic kidney disease, who were on regular dialysis and tested positive for COVID-19, underwent dialysis at RGGGH and were discharged after recovering from COVID-19,” E. Theranirajan, dean of RGGGH, said.

End stage renal disease patients required haemodialysis at least twice a week with each session lasting four hours. Being one of the main dialysis centres in the government sector, RGGGH conducted 2,000 to 2,200 dialysis sessions every month during normal times.

“COVID-19 can affect the kidneys too. A small set of persons with normal renal function could experience renal dysfunction. Those who are already suffering from end stage kidney disease and on maintenance haemodialysis are at high risk for COVID-19 as they have to come out of their homes twice or thrice a week for dialysis. Many of them have comorbidities such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiac ailments making them vulnerable to infection. They are exposed to the environment including that of the hospital,” Dr. Gopalakrishnan said.

Very few of their own patients tested positive for COVID-19 while a large number of patients were referred from other dialysis units. Around 38 hospitals in and around the city referred their patients to RGGGH for dialysis once they tested positive for the infection.

Doctors said they decided to establish a separate dialysis unit for COVID-19 patients. “We converted one of the regular dialysis units into a facility for COVID-19 patients. Here, patients underwent dialysis and were retained till their swabs returned negative for the infection following which they were referred back to their parent units,” he said.

Among the 166 patients, 108 were men. The mean duration of their hospitalisation was 10 days. Except for 15 patients, others made a smooth recovery, doctors said. The unit had separate staff posted on rotation.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 6:01:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/166-covid-19-patients-undergo-dialysis-at-rgggh-facility/article31936368.ece

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