Original Research

Acute kidney injury among hospitalised patients who died due to COVID-19 in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

Ramprakash Kaswa
South African Family Practice | Vol 65, No 1 : Part 1| a5616 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v65i1.5616 | © 2023 Ramprakash Kaswa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 August 2022 | Published: 13 January 2023

About the author(s)

Ramprakash Kaswa, Department of Family Medicine and Rural Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa


Background: Acute kidney injury (AKI) commonly occurs in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients who have been hospitalised and is associated with a poor prognosis. This study aimed to determine the incidence of AKI among COVID-19 patients who died in a regional hospital in South Africa.

Methods: This retrospective record review was conducted at the Mthatha Regional Hospital in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. Data were collected between 10 July 2020 and 31 January 2021.

Results: The incidence of AKI was 38% among the hospitalised patients who died due to COVID-19. Most study participants were female, with a mean age of 63.3 ± 16 years. The most common symptom of COVID-19 at the time of hospitalisation was shortness of breath, followed by fever and cough. Half of the patients had hypertension, while diabetes, human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV) and tuberculosis (TB) were other comorbidities. At admission, the average oxygen saturation was 75.5% ± 17.

Conclusion: The study revealed a high incidence of AKI among hospitalised patients who died due to COVID-19. It also found that those received adequate crystalloid fluids at the time of admission had a lower incidence of AKI.

Contribution: Acute kidney injury can be prevented by adequate fluid management during early stage of COVID-19. Majority of COVID-19 patients were referred from lower level of care and primary care providers have their first encounter with these patients. Adequate fluid resuscitation in primary care settings can improve the outcome of hospitalised COVID-19 patients.



AKI; COVID-19; hospitalised; comorbidity; prognosis


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