COVID-19 patients with GI symptoms had worse outcomes than patients without, study says

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COVID-19 patients with gastrointestinal symptoms had higher admission rates to hospitals and intensive care units and higher intubation rates than those without GI symptoms, according to a poster presented at ACG 2020, Oct. 23-28.

Researchers reviewed the electronic records of 1,003 COVID-19 patients between March 12 and April 3. The records included demographics, presenting symptoms, laboratory data and clinical outcome. Symptoms included fever, loss of appetite, body aches, cough, shortness of breath, smell loss, chest tightness, diarrhea, nausea/vomiting and abdominal pain.

Researchers had data for 921 patients. About 22.4 percent (206 patients) reported at least one GI symptom. Nausea and vomiting was the most common GI symptom for 61.7 percent of patients.

COVID-19 patients with GI symptoms were older, had higher body mass indexes and were more likely to have diabetes and hypertension. These patients had lower mean hemoglobin, calcium, and albumin, and higher creatinine and aminotransferases.

Researchers concluded: "Analyzing the predictive value of GI symptoms based on number of initial GI symptoms showed a stepwise increased likelihood of worsened outcomes when compared to those without GI symptoms. GI symptoms in COVID-19 patients were present in up to 22.4% of patients and were associated with worse outcomes after adjustment for demographics, comorbidities and all other clinical symptoms."

ACG denoted the poster as an ACG Award Winner, an ACG Newsworthy Abstract and an ACG Outstanding Poster Presenter.

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