Practicing With Uncertainty: Kidney Transplantation During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Krista L Lentine, Roslyn B Mannon, Michelle A Josephson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic required transplant nephrologists, surgeons, and care teams to make decisions about the full spectrum of transplant program operations and clinical practices, in the absence of experience or data. Initially, across the country, there was a reduction in kidney transplant procedures, and a striking pause in the conduct of living donation and living donor transplant surgeries. Aspects of candidate evaluation and follow-up rapidly converted to telehealth. Months into the pandemic, much has been learned from experiences world-wide, yet many questions remain. In this Perspective, we reflect on some of the practice decisions made by the transplant community in the initial response to the pandemic, and consider lessons learned, including related to the risks, benefits, and logistical considerations of proceeding with versus delaying deceased donor transplantation, living donation, and living donor transplantation during the pandemic. We review the evolution of therapeutic strategies for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and their use in transplant recipients, current consensus related to immunosuppression management in infected transplant recipients, and emerging information on vaccination against SARS-CoV-2. We share our thoughts on research priorities, discuss the areas in which we are still practicing with uncertainty, and look ahead to the next phase of the pandemic response.

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