Mayo Clin Proc. 2020 Aug;95(8):1632-1648. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2020.06.003. Epub 2020 Jun 10.
OBJECTIVE: To perform a systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating the prevalence of gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms and mortality in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) diagnosed.
METHODS: A systematic search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Scopus was performed from December 1, 2019 to May 7, 2020. Observational studies including adults with COVID-19 infection and reporting GI symptoms were included. The primary outcome was assessing the weighted pooled prevalence (WPP) of GI symptoms in patients with COVID-19 infection. Secondary outcomes were WPP of overall mortality, and mortality in patients with COVID-19 infection with GI symptoms.
RESULTS: A total of 78 studies with 12,797 patients were included. Among GI symptoms (at onset of illness in 6, at admission in 17, data given separately for both in 3, and data unavailable in 52 studies), the WPP of diarrhea was 12.4% (95% CI, 8.2% to 17.1%), I2=94%; nausea and/or vomiting, 9.0% (95% CI, 5.5% to 12.9%), I2=93%; loss of appetite, 22.3% (95% CI, 11.2% to 34.6%, I2=94%; and abdominal pain, 6.2% (95% CI, 2.6% to 10.3%), I2=92%. Mortality among patients with GI symptoms (0.4%; 95% CI, 0% to 1.1%; I2=74%) was similar to overall mortality (2.1%; 95% CI, 0.2% to 4.7%; I2=94%), P=.15. Most studies had high risk of bias and overall quality of evidence was low to very low for all outcomes.
CONCLUSION: Gastrointestinal symptoms are seen in up to 1 in 5 patients with COVID-19 infection. More high-quality evidence is needed to confirm these findings and explore factors causing mortality in these patients.