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J Gastroenterol ; 56(5): 409-420, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1147593


Although primarily a respiratory illness, several studies have shown that COVID-19 causes elevation of liver enzymes and various gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. The aim of this study was to undertake a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine whether the presence of gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms contributed toward COVID-19 severity, and identify the GI symptoms characteristic of severe COVID-19. We conducted a literature search of PubMed from December 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, and identified all reports with GI symptoms reported. A meta-analysis comparing the severity of COVID-19 with the presence of liver enzyme elevation and GI symptoms was performed using RevMan version 5.4. Pooled data from 15,305 unique reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction positive COVID-19 patients from 44 studies were analyzed. We found that the severe COVID-19 patients significantly had abdominal pain compared to the non-severe COVID-19 patients (OR = 2.70, 95% CI 1.17-6.27, Z = 2.32, p = 0.02, I2 = 0%) by analyzed 609 patients of 4 studies who reported both abdominal pain and COVID-19 severity. However, there was no significant difference in the incidence of diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting between the two groups. Thus, this systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrated that abdominal pain could be characteristic of severe COVID-19 infections. Compared with other viral infections that primarily infect the respiratory system, patients with COVID-19 have a slightly lower frequency of diarrheal symptoms with abdominal pain. However, to confirm this, further studies with COVID-19 patients across various countries and ethnicities are required.

COVID-19/complications , Gastrointestinal Diseases/epidemiology , Liver/enzymology , Abdominal Pain/etiology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Diarrhea/epidemiology , Diarrhea/virology , Gastrointestinal Diseases/virology , Humans , Liver/virology , Nausea/epidemiology , Nausea/virology , Severity of Illness Index , Vomiting/epidemiology , Vomiting/virology