The epidemic wave that hit Italy from February 21st, 2020, when the Italian National Institute of Health confirmed the first case of SARS‑CoV‑2 infection, led to a rapid and efficient reorganization of Dialysis Centers’ activities, in order to contain large-scale spread of disease in this clinical setting.
We herein report the experience of the Hemodialysis Unit of Parma University Hospital (Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria, Parma, Italy) and the Dialysis Centers of Parma territory, in the period from March 1st, 2020 to June 15, 2020.
Among patients undergoing chronic haemodialysis, 37/283 (13%) had positive swabs for SARS‑CoV‑2, 9/37 (24%) died because of COVID-19. Twenty-three patients required hospitalization, while the remaining were managed at home.
The primary measures applied to contain the infection were: the strengthening of personal protective equipment use by doctors and nurses, early identification of infected subjects by performing oro-pharyngeal swabs in every patient and in the healthcare personnel, the institution of a triage protocol when entering Dialysis Room, and finally the institution of two separate sections, managed by different doctors and dialysis nurses, to physically separate affected from unaffected patients and to manage “grey” patients.
Our experience highlights the importance and effectiveness of afore-mentioned measures in order to contain the spread of the virus; moreover, we observed a higher lethality rate of COVID-19 in dialysis patients as compared to the general population.
Keywords: COVID-19, haemodialysis, Parma, Emilia-Romagna