Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation. Severe disease typically presents with respiratory failure but Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) and a hypercoagulable state can also occur. Early reports suggest that thrombosis may be linked with AKI. We studied the development of AKI and outcomes of patients with COVID-19 taking chronic anticoagulation therapy.
Electronic records were reviewed for all adult patients admitted to Manchester University Foundation Trust Hospitals between March 10 and April 30 2020 with a diagnosis of COVID-19. Patients with end-stage kidney disease were excluded. AKI was classified as per KDIGO criteria.
Of the 1032 patients with COVID-19 studied,164 (15.9%) were taking anticoagulant therapy prior to admission. There were similar rates of AKI between those on anticoagulants and those not anticoagulated (23.8% versus 19.7%) with no difference in the severity of AKI or requirement of renal replacement therapy between groups (1.2% versus 3.5%). Risk factors for AKI included hypertension, pre-existing renal disease and male sex. There was a higher mortality in those taking anticoagulant therapy (40.2% versus 30%). Patients taking anticoagulants were less likely to be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (8.5% versus 17.4%) and to receive mechanical ventilation (42.9% versus 78.1%).
Patients on chronic anticoagulant therapy did not have a reduced incidence or severity of AKI suggesting that AKI is unlikely to be thrombotic in nature. Therapeutic anticoagulation is currently still under investigation in randomised controlled studies to determine whether it has a potential role in COVID-19 treatment.