New Harris Poll indicates only 1 in 5 Americans are aware kidneys can fail due to virus
May 14, 2020, New York, NY—COVID-19 doesn't just attack a patient's lungs, it damages the kidneys, but most Americans are unaware. In a new National Kidney Foundation-Harris Poll Survey on COVID-19 and Kidney Health findings show surprisingly low levels of awareness on both the risk of developing an acute kidney injury as a result of COVID-19, as well as the long-term effects of kidney damage.
Just under 1 in 5 (17%) Americans are aware of acute kidney injury as a result of COVID-19; considerably less than (58%) awareness of acute respiratory failure, (54%) pneumonia, and (52%) acute respiratory distress syndrome and more on par with (16%) septic shock and (15%) acute liver injury.
Acute kidney injury (AKI) is happening in about 15% of all hospitalized coronavirus patients, many of whom now need dialysis. If a patient ends up in the intensive care unit (ICU) their odds worsen—reports indicate that 20% and higher of intensive-care patients have lost kidney function. Hospitals weren’t prepared for this—causing shortages in some hot spots of dialysis equipment, supplies and nurses properly trained to administer dialysis in the ICU. A whole group of people with no previous history of kidney disease now face an acute kidney injury, which brings with it an increased risk for developing chronic kidney disease.
The survey findings also show surprisingly low levels of awareness on both the risks of AKI as well as the long-term effects of kidney damage. Less than half (46%) of Americans are aware that COVID-19 will likely result in a higher number of Americans with chronic kidney disease and/or kidney failure. Once kidneys fail, dialysisor a transplant is needed to survive.
“A significant number of patients going into the hospital to be treated for COVID-19 are coming out as kidney patients,” said Kevin Longino, CEO, National Kidney Foundation and a kidney transplant patient. “We believe this may be a looming healthcare crisis that will put a greater strain on hospitals, dialysis clinics and patients, for whom chronic kidney disease will be a lasting remnant of the Coronavirus crisis––even after a vaccine is hopefully found.”
The survey also found that two-thirds (65%), are concerned over potential shortages of dialysis equipment from COVID-19. And the majority of Americans, (87%), support the federal government stepping in to address any shortages found in hot spots and provide funding for equipment, supplies, and staff needed to care for patients with complications caused by the virus, such as acute kidney injury. Support is also high (87%) for the federal government devoting more resources towards the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease and significantly increasing funding for kidney research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a result of kidney-related illness resulting from COVID-19.
The National Kidney Foundation-Harris Poll Survey on COVID-19 and Kidney Health was fielded May 1 and 2, 2020 amongst a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. Additional information about COVID-19 and how it affects kidney disease patients can be found at kidney.org/coronavirus.
Topline Survey Results
- Just under 1 in 5 (17%) Americans are aware of acute kidney injury (AKI) as a result of COVID-19; considerably less than (58%) acute respiratory failure, (54%) pneumonia, and (52%) acute respiratory distress syndrome and more on par with (16%) septic shock and (15%) acute liver injury.
- (19%) of women are aware of AKI vs (14%) of men
- Older Americans are twice as aware as young Americans: (25%) of 65+ and (19%) 50-64 vs (10%) of 18-34.
- Two-thirds (65%) are concerned over potential shortages of dialysis machines from COVID-19, though concern is less than other healthcare system shortages: (83%) healthcare workers, (80%), surgical masks and gloves, (80%) COVID-19 testing kits, (77%) ventilators, and (74%) hospital beds.
- Young Americans are the most concerned: (72%) 18-34 and (70%) 35-49 vs. (57%) 50-64 and (60%) 65+.
- (74%) of Democrats vs (57%) of Republicans
- Less than half (46%) are aware that COVID-19 will likely result in a higher number of Americans with chronic kidney disease and/or kidney failure.
- Despite lower levels of awareness around AKI as a complication, younger Americans are most aware that COVID-19 will likely result in a kidney disease/failure: (54%) 18-34 and (56%) 30-49 vs (41%) 50-64 and (31%) 65+.
- Support is high (87%) for the federal government stepping in to fund hospitals in hot spots to access equipment, supplies, and staff needed to care for patients with complications like Acute Kidney Injury.
- Support is highest among older generations: (94%) 65+, (91%) 50-64, (90%) 35-49 vs (75%) 18-34.
- Support is also high (87%) for the federal government devoting more resources towards the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of kidney diseases and significantly increasing funding for kidney research at the NIH as a result of kidney-related illness resulting from COVID-19.
- Support is also highest among older generations (92%) 65+, (89%) 50-64, (90%) 35-49 vs (79%) 18-34.
Find more information and resources on kidney disease and COVID-19 on the NKF resource page www.kidney.org/coronavirus.
This survey was fielded online among a nationally representative sample of 2,039 U.S adults from May 1 to 3, 2020. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. Results are weighted for age within gender, race/ethnicity, household income, and education where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.
Kidney Disease Facts
In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and more than 90 percent are unaware they have it. 1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease. Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and family history. People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. African Americans are 3 times more likely than Whites, and Hispanics are nearly 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to develop end-stage renal disease (kidney failure).
About the National Kidney Foundation
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit www.kidney.org.
About The Harris Poll
The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys in the U.S. tracking public opinion, motivations and social sentiment since 1963 that is now part of Harris Insights & Analytics, a global consulting and market research firm that delivers social intelligence for transformational times. They work with clients in three primary areas; building 21st-century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. Their mission is to provide insights and advisory to help leaders make the best decisions possible.To learn more, visit www.theharrispoll.com or follow Harris on Twitter and LinkedIn.