SIUT calls for special measures to protect high-risk patients from Covid-19

Published May 5, 2020
High-risk patients include those who have a transplant and are dependent on life-long dialysis or suffering from cancer. — AFP/File
High-risk patients include those who have a transplant and are dependent on life-long dialysis or suffering from cancer. — AFP/File

KARACHI: Medical experts at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) have underscored the need for adopting a special strategy to protect patients with compromised immune system from Covid-19 and managing them in specialised units.

These high-risk patients include those who have a transplant and are dependent on life-long dialysis or suffering from cancer.

A medical investigation carried out by a clinical team at the institute shows there are over 16,000 patients who fall in the follow-up category of immunocompromised patients listed with the institute.

These patients, experts pointed out, faced a higher risk of serious illness from the coronavirus as their immunity to fight the infection was severely compromised.

The situation, according to them, gets more complicated because treatment of Covid-19 for this segment of population is a complex task.

Patients on dialysis are partially immunocompromised, and threat of a high risk of infection due to close contact with blood and body fluids of patients requires close and intensive monitoring.

The investigation also highlights that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the need for managing these patients in specialised units like SIUT which has the largest centre in the country for treating patients with impaired immune systems.

The institute takes care of more than 6,000 dialysis patients on annual basis, providing 1,100 free sessions per day.

The procedure is a life-saving exercise and no patient can be withdrawn.

As a pioneer of renal transplant in the country, the SIUT also has a life-time follow-up of over 5,000 renal transplant patients.

“These transplant recipients are also unique due to their fully immunocompromised status. These patients may be asymptomatic but may have severe diseases with fulminant course. Transplant medications have drug interactions with medications used in Covid-19 which is again challenging.

“The institute also has over 5000 cancer patients availing anti-cancer treatment facilities and can also present with serious and sometimes fulminant course needing intensive and prolonged treatment,” says a SIUT press statement.

Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2020

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