Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in Kidney and Liver Transplant Patients: A Single-Center Experience

Exp Clin Transplant. 2020 Jun;18(3):270-274. doi: 10.6002/ect.2020.0193.


Objectives: The novel 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) was first described in December 2019 in Wuhan, China and subsequently announced as a pandemic on March 12, 2020. In several studies, solid-organ transplant recipients were reported to have higher risk for COVID-19. Here, we aimed to determine the frequency of COVID-19 in our kidney and liver transplant patients.

Materials and methods: Our study included 583 transplant patients who were admitted to our outpatient transplant clinics and emergency departments between March 1 and May 1, 2020. Seventy-four of them were liver transplant recipients (46 male, 28 female, of which 14 were pediatric and 60 were adult patients) and 509 of them were kidney transplant recipients (347 male, 162 female, of which 16 were pediatric and 493 were adult patients). We retrospectively evaluated demographic characteristics, currently used immunosuppressant treatment, present complaints, treatment and diagnosis of comorbid diseases, and results of COVID-19 tests.

Results: Of 583 transplant recipients, 538 were seen in our outpatient transplant clinics and 45 were seen in our emergency departments. Of these, 18 patients who had had cough and fever were evaluated by respiratory clinic doctors, and nasopharyngeal swab samples were taken. One kidney transplant recipient had a positive COVID-19 test; he was followed with home isolation. He received treatment with hydroxychloroquine (400 mg/day). The other 17 patients had negative tests. There were no mortalities due to COVID-19.

Conclusions: Transplant patients also got affected during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the data of our centers, this effect is not much more different from the normal population. We recommend that transplant recipients should be warned in terms of personal hygiene and should be closely monitored by organ transplant centers. If there is an indication for hospitalization, they should be followed in an isolated unit, with no aggressive changes made to immunosuppressive doses unless necessary.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus / immunology
  • Betacoronavirus / pathogenicity*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / immunology
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Kidney Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Liver Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Opportunistic Infections / diagnosis
  • Opportunistic Infections / epidemiology*
  • Opportunistic Infections / immunology
  • Opportunistic Infections / virology
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / immunology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Turkey / epidemiology


  • Immunosuppressive Agents