Investigator Presents Study Showing Decline in Kidney Disease Care During Pandemic

Late-breaking presentation shared during National Kidney Foundation’s 2021 Spring Clinical Meetings

April 8, 2021—New York, NY — A troubling data point discovered during the COVID-19 crisis is that patients with kidney disease have not maintained their medical care as much as they had prior to the pandemic, according to the results of a study presented at the National Kidney Foundation’s 2021 Spring Clinical Meetings.

The sheer amount of reduction in chronic kidney disease (CKD) care across provider encounters, medication coverage, and lab monitoring, was surprising to the study investigators, but this outcome also presents an opportunity.

“Disruptions in care during the COVID-19 pandemic allows us to take a step back and critically evaluate the value and impact of the CKD care we traditionally provide,” said Clarissa Jonas Diamantidis, MD, MHS, Associate Professor of Medicine and Population Health Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine, Senior Clinical Fellow in Nephrology, United Health Research and Development. 

However, Dr. Diamantidis wants patients to know that there may be long-term consequences to the disruptions on CKD care during the pandemic and patients should not skip care.

“Missing Care: The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on CKD Care Delivery” was presented during the “late-breaking presentation,” chaired by NKF Chief Medical Officer Joseph Vassalotti, MD, at the virtual 2021 Spring Clinical Meetings of thousands of kidney health professionals from around the country.

According to Dr. Diamantidis, increased use of telehealth compensated only partially for the deficit in visits they uncovered. The downstream impact of CKD care reduction on health outcomes, such as hospitalizations or dialysis preparedness, requires further study, as does evaluation of which care delivery models are most effective for CKD populations.

NKF Spring Clinical Meetings 

For the past 29 years, nephrology healthcare professionals from across the country have come to NKF’s Spring Clinical Meetings to learn about the newest developments related to all aspects of nephrology practice; network with colleagues; and present their research findings. The NKF Spring Clinical Meetings are designed for meaningful change in the multidisciplinary healthcare teams’ skills, performance, and patient health outcomes. It is the only conference of its kind that focuses on translating science into practice for the entire healthcare team.  This year’s Spring Clinical Meetings will be held virtually April 6-10.  

NKF Professional Membership 

Healthcare professionals can join NKF to receive access to tools and resources for both patients and professionals, discounts on professional education, and access to a network of thousands of individuals who treat patients with kidney disease. 

Kidney Disease Facts

In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease (CKD)—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it.  1 in 3 adults in the U.S. is at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabeteshigh blood pressureheart diseaseobesity, and family history. People who are Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander are at increased risk for developing the disease. Black or African American people are almost 4 times more likely than Whites to have kidney failure. Hispanic or Latino people are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanic or non-Latino people to have 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