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Many kidney transplants stopped due to COVID-19 threat, says doctor


Many kidney care institutions have stopped transplant procedures due to the threat of posed by COVID-19, a doctor from the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) said on Tuesday.

Nephrologist Russel Villanueva said these facilities had been taking precaution and focusing on the response against the spread of the virus.

“Sa ngayon, in most centers ngayon, pinahinto muna ang kidney transplant procedure kasi nag-iingat tayo. Naka-focus ngayon sa COVID-19 response,” Villanueva said in an online forum.

Villanueva saidd that the disease donor program for transplant procedure had also been affected by the pandemic.

“Sa panahon ng pandemya ay mukhang mahihirapan  tayong ituloy ang disease donor procurement. I don’t think mangyayari ito until magkaroon ng pagtatapos itong pandemyang ito,” Villanueva said.

According to Villanueva, kidney transplant patients are more vulnerable to catching the virus because of their poor immune system. 

He explained that they took ‘anti-rejection’ medicines, which weakens the immune system.

“Ating tandaan mahina ang immune system nila kaya nakatutok din kami sa kanila dahil wala silang panlaban sa infection ng COVID-19,” Villanueva said.

Citing records from Spain, Villanueva said that 100 out of the 650 patients with kidney disease were infected by the virus.

Aside from the respiratory system, Villanueva noted that COVID-19 infection also affects the kidneys.

Based on kidney biopsy and urinalysis, he said experts saw direct cellular injury on the kidneys of infected patients.

Gingerlita Samonte, also a nephrologist from NKTI, during the forum empathized with the dialysis patients amid the pandemic crisis.

“Alam ko pong mahirap itong problema nating pinagdadaanan lalo na sa pasyenteng nagda-dialysis. Kailangan silang maglakad minsan ng napakalayo para lamang mag-dialysis,” she said.

For the National Kidney Month, Samonte encouraged the public to participate in the celebration on June 28 with a theme Malusog na Bato sa Panahon ng Pandemya.

Due to the pandemic, the conduct of the National Kidney Month will be virtual through online seminars and contests.

“Kahit na may pandemya, kahit na may krisis, ang importante is to promote good health for everyone, which includes patients with kidney disease,” she said. -NB, GMA News

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