Hepatol Int. 2020 Jul 28. doi: 10.1007/s12072-020-10078-2. Online ahead of print.
Abnormal liver enzymes are seen in 20% of hospitalized patients with COVID-19. The etiology of elevated liver enzymes is thought to be multifactorial including medications and underlying liver disease. The true prevalence and clinical significance of underlying chronic liver diseases (CLD) in COVID-19 remains poorly defined. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we included 74 clinical studies that were identified after a thorough literature search across three databases. The prevalence of CLD patients (73 studies, 24,299 patients) was 3% among all COVID-19 patients. The prevalence of CLD patients was similar in COVID-19 positive and negative population (pooled OR 0.79 [95% CI 0.60, 1.05], p = 0.10). The presence of CLD was significantly associated with more severe COVID-19 infection (pooled OR 1.48 [95% CI 1.17, 1.87], p = 0.001) and overall mortality (pooled OR 1.78 [95% CI 1.09, 2.93], p = 0.02). Additionally, there was a non-significant trend noted for increased ICU admissions and need for invasive mechanical ventilation among COVID-19 patients with CLD. To date, the clinical importance of chronic liver diseases among COVID-19 infection has remained undefined. In this novel systematic review and meta-analysis, the presence of underlying chronic liver disease was significantly associated with more severe COVID-19 infections and mortality.