Hypertension and nephrology

[Covid-19 and the kidney]

PATÓ Éva1, DEÁK György1

JUNE 24, 2020

Hypertension and nephrology - 2020;24(3)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.33668/hn.24.010

[Covid-19 pandemy has emerged from Wuhan, China in December 2019. The infection affects not only the lung but other organs such as the kidney, as well. The relation between Covid-19 infection and the kidney is bidirectional. On one hand, Covid-19 infection may cause kidney damage in 50-75% of the cases resulting in proteinuria, haematuria and acute kidney injury (AKI). The etiology of AKI is multifactorial. Main pathogenic mechanisms are direct proximal tubular cell damage, sepsis-related haemodinamic derangement, citokine storm and hypercoagulability. The virus enters proximal tubular cells and podocytes via the ACE2 receptor followed by multiplication in the lysomes and consequential cell lesion. Histopathology shows acute tubular necrosis and acute tubulointerstitial nephritis. AKI is a strong predictor of mortality in critically ill patients. On the other hand, the risk of Covid-19 infection and mortality is substantially increased in patients with chronic kidney disease – especially in those with a kidney transplant or on dialysis – due to their immunocompromised status. Among haemodialysis patients, infection may spread very easily due to the possibility of getting contacted in the ambulance car or at the dialysis unit. The mortality rate of patients on renal replacement therapy with Covid-19 infection is 20-35%. In order to avoid mass infection it is obligatory to employ preventive measures and implement restricions along with (cohors) isolation of infected patients. In Hungary, every dialysis or kidney transplant patient with Covid-19 infection should be admitted to dedicated Covid-19 wards.]


  1. Uzsoki Utcai Kórház, Budapest



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[For about 100 years, it has been known that persistently high blood pressure (hypertension) is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease deaths, such as major risk factors for heart failure, myocardial infarction, stroke, kidney and eye disease. Unfortunately, one of the characteristics of hypertension is that it remains undetected for a long time until damage to one or more organs has already occurred. Therefore, it is very important that systemic blood pressure is monitored from time to time, especially above 45 years of age. The prevalence of hypertension is more than 35% in the Hungarian population. Recent data have pointed out that hypertension may occur at a younger age, although at a lower frequency. Our studies were conducted in the context of the May 2019 Measurement Month (MMM19), an international campaign that draws attention to hypertension and the lack of systematic screening at population level. We hypothesized that hypertension may occur in young, apparently healthy university students. The studies were conducted among students of the University of Physical Education (n = 33; 25 males, 8 females). The mean age was 24.3 years (20–34 years). To measure blood pressure, an automatic blood pressure monitor (Omron MIT5) was used, placed on individuals’ upper arms, as specified in the guidelines, in a relaxed, sitting position. The measurements were repeated three times at one-minute intervals and the average of the three measurements was statistically analyzed. Blood pressure values (mean ± SEM, averaged over 3 measurements) in the student population were systolic 121.9 ± 14.4 mmHg, diastolic 75.1 ± 9.1 mmHg, mean 90.7 ± 10.9 mmHg, and heart rate: 46.8 ± 5.3 mmHg. Although mean blood pressure was within the normal range, higher values were also found in some individuals. Systolic blood pressure fell by 33% due to elevated normal blood pressure, respectively of Grade 1 hypertension. These data confirmed our hypothesis that hypertension may occur at a young age, despite the fact that members of the study population exercise regularly, which is an important preventive factor in the development of cardiovascular disease. These results underscore the importance of regular blood pressure measurement in adolescents, which may reduce the global spread of hypertension and prevent the development of a number of cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, heart attack, renal failure and mental decline.]

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[The appearance of the Covid-19 epidemic in different continents shows specific clinical features. Confirmed infected patients are detectable from approximately 30 years, with a maximum between 40 and 70 years of age. At the same time, however, a significant proportion of those who die from the infection come from patients over 65 years. The prevalence and mortality rates of the hypertensive population show a very similar formation. Based on the data collected, it is not surprising that hypertension as the underlying disease in the Covid- 19 epidemic is the first in all analysis. A more precise analysis clarified that it is not hypertension per se, but co-morbidities and complications of hypertension that play a primary role behind large-scale mortality in old age, such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure, and chronic kidney disease. Data from China, North America, and Italy suggest that hypertension and diabetes – and in North America, pathological obesity – in infected patients actually only reflect the prevalence of these diseases in a given population. The presence of comorbidities (coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, arrhythmia, chronic kidney disease) – based on multivariate logistic regression analysis – presents a more risk for severe clinical course and mortality. Some recent analyses have provided strong evidence that ACEI/ARB treatment does not pose a higher risk for the course or outcome of infection. Their administration is constantly needed in hypertension and comorbidities due to their organ protective and slowing the progression of diseases.]

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