Excess Death Estimates in Patients with End-Stage Renal Disease - United States, February-August 2020.MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Jun 04; 70(22):825-829.MM
End-stage renal disease (ESRD) is a condition in which kidney function has permanently declined such that renal replacement therapy* is required to sustain life (1). The mortality rate for patients with ESRD in the United States has been declining since 2001 (2). However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, ESRD patients are at high risk for COVID-19-associated morbidity and mortality, which is due, in part, to weakened immune systems and presence of multiple comorbidities (3-5). The ESRD National Coordinating Center (ESRD NCC) supports the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the ESRD Networks†,§ through analysis of data, dissemination of best practices, and creation of educational materials. ESRD NCC analyzed deaths reported to the Consolidated Renal Operations in a Web-Enabled Network (CROWNWeb), a system that facilitates the collection of data and maintenance of information about ESRD patients on chronic dialysis or receiving a kidney transplant who are treated in Medicare-certified dialysis facilities and kidney transplant centers in the United States. Excess death estimates were obtained by comparing observed and predicted monthly numbers of deaths during February 1-August 31, 2020; predicted deaths were modeled based on data from January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2019. The analysis estimated 8.7-12.9 excess deaths per 1,000 ESRD patients, or a total of 6,953-10,316 excess deaths in a population of 798,611 ESRD patients during February 1-August 31, 2020. These findings suggest that deaths among ESRD patients during the early phase of the pandemic exceeded those that would have been expected based on previous years' data. Geographic and temporal patterns of excess mortality, including those among persons with ESRD, should be considered during planning and implementation of interventions, such as COVID-19 vaccination, infection control guidance, and patient education. These findings underscore the importance of data-driven technical assistance and further analyses of the causes and patterns of excess deaths in ESRD patients.