Hertzberg D, Renberg M, Nyman J, Bell M, Rimes Stigare C
Blood Purif - (-) 1-6 [2021-10-06; online 2021-10-06]
The COVID-19 pandemic led to a rapidly increased demand for intensive care unit (ICU) and renal replacement therapy (RRT) worldwide. RRT delivery was threatened by a lack of specially trained staff and equipment. We investigated how the first wave of COVID-19 affected RRT delivery in Swedish ICUs. An Internet-based questionnaire was sent to ICU lead physicians which included quantitative and qualitative questions regarding RRT demand, equipment availability, and use of continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT), intermittent haemodialysis (IHD), and peritoneal dialysis (PD) during spring 2020. Twenty-five ICUs responded and these treated 64% of COVID-19 ICU patients in Sweden. ICU capacity increased by 292% (IQR 171-347%). Median peak capacity was reached during the 18th week of the year. RRT use increased overall by 133% and in Stockholm by 188%. 36% of units sequestered CRRT machines. IHD was used in 68% and PD in 12% of ICUs. RRT fluid and filter shortages were experienced by 45% and 33% of wards, respectively; consequently, prescription alterations were made by 24% of ICUs. Calcium solution shortages were reported in 12% of units that led to citrate protocol changes. Staffing shortages resulted in RRT sometimes being delivered by non-RRT-trained staff, safety incidents relating to this occurred, although no patient harm was reported. During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, RRT demand increased extensively causing staff and equipment shortages, altered CRRT protocols, and increased use of IHD and PD. The impact on patient outcomes should be assessed to effectively plan for further surge capacity RRT demand.