News Release

Study reveals high burden of COVD-19–related deaths among kidney transplant recipients and patients with kidney failure

Peer-Reviewed Publication

American Society of Nephrology


  • An analysis of national data shows that kidney transplant recipients and individuals with kidney failure face a high risk of dying from COVID-19.
  • The analysis also highlights the disproportionate burden of the pandemic on racial/ethnic minority groups among individuals with kidney disease.

Washington, DC (September 29, 2021) — Individuals with kidney failure and those who have received a kidney transplant are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 and are thought to have a higher risk of dying from it than adults in the general population. Although most of this evidence comes from small studies, a recent extensive analysis supports these findings. The analysis appears in an upcoming issue of CJASN.

For the analysis, Sumit Mohan, MD, MPH (Columbia University Irving Medical Center) and his colleagues examined national data on kidney transplant recipients and individuals with kidney failure who are candidates for a kidney transplant.

Among the major findings:

  • In 2020, 11% of deaths in patients with kidney failure who were candidates for a kidney transplant were attributed to COVID-19, and these deaths were more likely in individuals who were male, obese, and belonged to racial/ethnic minority groups.
  • Nearly 1 in 6 deaths (16%) among transplant recipients in the United States in 2020 was attributed to COVID-19. Recipients who died of COVID-19 were younger, more likely to be obese, had lower educational attainment, and were more likely to belong to racial/ethnic minority groups than those who died of other causes in 2020 or 2019.
  • Compared with 2019, there was a 24% higher overall mortality rate in 2020 among patients on the transplant waitlist and a 20% higher rate among kidney transplant recipients.

“This is the first analysis of national level COVID-19–related mortality in transplant recipients and patients waitlisted for a kidney transplant,” said Dr. Mohan. “There was a large increase in deaths among these susceptible individuals, with a disproportionate impact on minorities.”

Study co-authors include Kristen King, MPH, S Ali Husain, MD, MPH, and Jesse Schold, PhD.

Disclosures: The authors reported no relevant financial disclosures. 

The article, titled “COVID-19–Associated Mortality among Kidney Transplant Recipients and Candidates in the United States,” will appear online at on September 29, 2021, doi: 10.2215/CJN.02690221.

The content of this article does not reflect the views or opinions of The American Society of Nephrology (ASN). Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author(s). ASN does not offer medical advice. All content in ASN publications is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions, or adverse effects. This content should not be used during a medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Please consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions about a medical condition, or before taking any drug, changing your diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment. Do not ignore or delay obtaining professional medical advice because of information accessed through ASN. Call 911 or your doctor for all medical emergencies.

Since 1966, ASN has been leading the fight to prevent, treat, and cure kidney diseases throughout the world by educating health professionals and scientists, advancing research and innovation, communicating new knowledge, and advocating for the highest quality care for patients. ASN has more than 21,000 members representing 131 countries. For more information, visit



Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.