"We think 30% of ICU patients are developing acute kidney injury," said Dr. David Goldfarb, Chief of Nephrology at New York Harbor VA Medical Center.
Dr. Goldfarb said he could not predict this kind of system failure that occurred with patients infected with the coronavirus.
"We were certainly not prepared in mid-March for what was going to happen. We were going to see a prevalence of kidney failure in patients who had a pulmonary failure that nobody ever saw before," said Dr. Goldfarb. "I don't think we expected all these patients to go into kidney failure."
It was much the same at NYU Winthrop, one of the state's COVID-19 hot spots.
The acute dialysis nurse manager says she'd never seen anything like it.
"Each dialysis is three-four hours, we were doing 30 of those a day, and that's a lot of dialysis nurse power," said Faith Lynch, Acute Dialysis, NYU Winthrop.
And with all that kidney failure, New York State secured and distributed 50 dialysis machines from the federal stockpile. They were all Tablo Hemodialysis Systems.
NYU Winthrop and the VA also bought these devices just ahead of the spike in mid-April.
"It's smaller and lighter and easy to push, and it's got its water system contained," Dr. Goldfarb said.
The Tablo Hemodialysis Systems are the newest dialysis machines available.
They're portable and user friendly, which enabled other medical staff to step in when dialysis nurses were out sick.
But even with all the additional equipment, the virus has had the upper hand.
"I can tell you having the phone calls with patients' families that they're going to have dialysis and not being able to give the kind of hope you want as a physician," said Dr. Naveed Masani, Director of Dialysis Services at NYU Winthrop.
Among those who've survived COVID-19, some have recovered kidney function, but many haven't, and dialysis could remain a part of their lives going forward.
"The combination of having kidney failure and lung failure has a very high mortality rate. At least 70-80 percent of those patients have died," Dr. Goldfarb said.
The virus, showing yet again, its lasting impact.
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