New research was virtually presented at ACG 2020, the Virtual Annual Scientific Meeting & Postgraduate Course of the American College of Gastroenterology.
With evidence suggesting that COVID-19 affects not only the respiratory tract but also the gastrointestinal tract, but data regarding the significance of GI symptoms currently limited, study investigators sought to explore the gap in understanding the significance of GI symptoms at the presentation of COVID-19 in predicting disease outcomes. The electronic encounters of about 1,000 patients who tested positive for the virus between March 12 and April 3, 2020 were reviewed to record demographics, presenting COVID-19 symptoms, laboratory data, and clinical outcomes. Among 921 patients for whom data were available, 22.4% reported at least one GI symptom (diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain), with nausea/vomiting as the most common complaint (61.7%). Patients with GI symptoms were older, had a higher BMI, and had a greater prevalence of diabetes or hypertension when compared with those without GI symptoms. The former group also showed lower mean hemoglobin, calcium, albumin, and higher creatinine and aspartate aminotransferase levels, while also experiencing higher admission rates to the hospital and ICU and higher intubation rates.