King MJ, et al. Eur Radiol 2020.
OBJECTIVE: To describe demographic, clinical, and lung base CT findings in COVID-19 patients presenting with abdominal complaints.
METHODS: In this retrospective study, 76 COVID-19 patients who underwent abdominal CT for abdominal complaints from March 1 to April 15, 2020, in a large urban multihospital Health System were included. Those with positive abdominal CT findings (n = 14) were then excluded, with 62 patients undergoing final analysis (30M/32F; median age 63 years, interquartile range (IQR) 52-75 years, range 30-90 years). Demographic and clinical data were extracted. CT lung base assessment was performed by a cardiothoracic radiologist. Data were compared between discharged and hospitalised patients using Wilcoxon or Fisher's exact tests.
RESULTS: The majority of the population was non-elderly (56.4%, < 65 years) and most (81%) had underlying health conditions. Nineteen percent were discharged and 81% were hospitalised. The most frequent abdominal symptoms were pain (83.9%) and nausea/vomiting/anorexia (46.8%). Lung base CT findings included ground-glass opacities (95.2%) in a multifocal (95.2%) and peripheral (66.1%) distribution. Elevated laboratory values (when available) included C-reactive protein (CRP) (97.3%), D-dimer (79.4%), and ferritin (68.8% of males and 81.8% of females). Older age (p = 0.045), hypertension (p = 0.019), and lower haemoglobin in women (p = 0.042) were more frequent in hospitalised patients. There was no difference in lung base CT findings between discharged and hospitalised patients (p > 0.165).
CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 patients can present with abdominal symptoms, especially in non-elderly patients with underlying health conditions. Lung base findings on abdominal CT are consistent with published reports. Radiologists should be aware of atypical presentations of COVID-19.
KEY POINTS: • COVID-19 infected patients can present with acute abdominal symptoms, especially in non-elderly patients with underlying health conditions, and may frequently require hospitalisation (81%). • There was no difference in lung base CT findings between patients who were discharged and those who were hospitalised. • Lung base CT findings included multifocal and peripheral ground-glass opacities, consistent with published reports.