Covid-19 and acute kidney injury: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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Background: coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome—coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2)—is an ongoing pandemic with high morbidity and mortality rates. Preliminary evidence suggests that acute kidney injury (AKI) is uncommon in patients with COVID-19 and associated with poor outcomes. Study aims and design: we performed a systematic review of the literature with a meta-analysis of clinical studies to evaluate the frequency of AKI and dialysis requirement in patients who underwent hospitalization due to COVID-19. The incidence of AKI according to the death risk was calculated in these patients. The random-effects model of DerSimonian and Laird was adopted, with heterogeneity and stratified analyses. Results: thirty-nine clinical studies (n = 25,566 unique patients) were retrieved. The pooled incidence of AKI was 0.154 (95% CI, 0.107; 0.201; p < 0.0001) across the studies. Significant heterogeneity was found (p = 0.0001). The overall frequency of COVID-19-positive patients who underwent renal replacement therapy (RRT) was 0.043 (95% CI, 0.031; 0.055; p < 0.0001); no publication bias was found (Egger’s test, p = 0.11). The pooled estimate of AKI incidence in patients with severe COVID-19 was 0.53 (95% CI, 0.427; 0.633) and heterogeneity occurred (Q = 621.08, I2 = 97.26, p = 0.0001). According to our meta-regression, age (p < 0.007) and arterial hypertension (p < 0.001) were associated with AKI occurrence in hospitalized COVID-19 positive patients. The odds ratio (OR) for the incidence of AKI in deceased COVID-19 positive patients was greater than among survivors, 15.4 (95% CI, 20.99; 11.4; p < 0.001). Conclusions: AKI is a common complication in hospitalized COVID-19 positive patients. Additional studies are under way to assess the risk of AKI in COVID-19 patients and to deepen the mechanisms of kidney injury.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1052
Number of pages16
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Acute kidney injury
  • COVID-19
  • Mortality
  • Renal replacement therapy
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Severe disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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