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Impact of the lockdown on patients receiving maintenance hemodialysis at a tertiary care facility in Southern India – A mixed-methods approach


1 Department of Nephrology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
2 College of Nursing, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Anna T Valson,
Department of Nephrology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu - 632 004
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijn.IJN_561_20

Aims: The mass quarantine measures adopted to control the COVID-19 pandemic greatly impacted the lives of patients on haemodialysis in India. We used a mixed methods approach to study its effect on dialysis outcomes and the lived experience of haemodialysis patients during the lockdown. Methods: Quantitative data was collected from 141 subjects using a structured proforma to determine the impact of the lockdown on dialysis outcomes and travel expenses. Qualitative data collected through in-depth interviews with 9 patients by purposive sampling were recorded and transcribed to explore the lived experience of haemodialysis patients during lockdown. The cohort was followed up till October 31st 2020 for incidence of COVID-19, deaths, and dropouts. Results: The median increase in per day travel expense was 25%. Due to decrease in dialysis frequency, patients previously on thrice weekly haemodialysis experienced significant increase in pre-dialysis systolic blood pressure (P = 0.005) compared to those on twice weekly haemodialysis. Between March 25th and July 15th 2020, 12 patients (8.5%) required emergency dialysis sessions, and 4 patients (2.8%) required admissions for hypertensive emergencies. Four main themes emerged from thematic analysis of transcribed interviews: Travel inconveniences, uncertainty resulting in anxiety, financial burden and frequency change in dialysis leading to worsening of symptoms. Twenty-two patients (15.6%) were diagnosed with COVID-19, the first case diagnosed 33 days after the first 'unlock' phase. Conclusion: The lockdown was successful in delaying infection transmission but had unintended physical and psychosocial effects on haemodialysis patients.


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Indian Journal of Nephrology
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