Strategies to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission in hemodialysis centres across Europe-lessons for the future

Clin Kidney J. 2022 Dec 2;16(4):662-675. doi: 10.1093/ckj/sfac253. eCollection 2023 Apr.


Background: Early reports on the pandemic nature of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) directed the nephrology community to develop infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance. We aimed to make an inventory of strategies that dialysis centres followed to prevent infection with COVID-19 in the first pandemic wave.

Methods: We analyzed IPC measures taken by hemodialysis centres treating patients presenting with COVID-19 between 1 March 2020 and 31 July 2020 and that completed the European Renal Association COVID-19 Database centre questionnaire. Additionally, we made an inventory of guidelines published in European countries to prevent spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in dialysis centres.

Results: Data from 73 dialysis units located in and bordering Europe were analyzed. All participating centres implemented IPC measures to mitigate the impact of SARS-CoV-2 during the first pandemic wave. Measures mentioned most often included triage with questions before entering the dialysis ward, measuring body temperature, hand disinfection, masking for all patients and staff, and personal protective equipment for staff members. These measures were also recommended in most of the 14 guidelines that were identified in the inventory of national guidelines and were also scored as being among the most important measures by the authors of this paper. Heterogeneity existed between centres and national guidelines regarding the minimal distance between dialysis chairs and recommendations regarding isolation and cohorting.

Conclusions: Although variation existed, measures to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2 were relatively similar across centres and national guidelines. Further research is needed to assess causal relationships between measures taken and spread of SARS-CoV-2.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; centre practices; guidelines; hemodialysis; virus transmission.

Publication types

  • Review