Researchers in the Leicester Kidney Lifestyle Team at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, based at Leicester General Hospital, are leading a new national study investigating how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting people with a kidney condition, including those who have received kidney transplants.
The new study is part of the Dimension-KD study which investigates the needs of kidney patients with the aim of developing new lifestyle packages. 1 in 10 people in the UK have some form of kidney condition. When kidneys do not function properly this inhibits the body’s ability to clean blood, which can cause symptoms such as tiredness and weakness, and make completing daily tasks more challenging.
For some people these kidney conditions can get worse and lead to the need for regular dialysis or a kidney transplant. A successful kidney transplant can allow people to return to an almost normal lifestyle, however it requires them to take immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of their lives to ensure the kidney is not rejected.
People who have received a kidney transplant have a lowered immune system so are classed as extremely vulnerable to COVID-19. The new study aims to investigate how the pandemic has impacted those with kidney conditions and kidney transplants, as well as their loved ones and healthcare professionals involved in their care.
Professor Alice Smith, who leads the Leicester Kidney Lifestyle Team said: “The COVID pandemic is having a massive impact on the lives of people living with a kidney transplant, because they are among the most vulnerable due to their immunosuppression. It is important that the NHS understands how the current and future situation affects these very vulnerable people so we can adapt healthcare and support services to meet their needs, now and in the future.”
Kidney transplant patient and previous research participant, Phil Smith, said: “Having to shield during the pandemic has been incredibly irritating, especially when guidance doesn’t always seem clear or make sense. It will affect everyone differently so research like DIME-CV will be valuable in capturing the struggles people who have received kidney transplants are facing.”
You can read more about the study and how to get involved here.