High Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Manifestations of COVID-19 Infection in Hospitalized Patients With Cancer

Link to article at PubMed

J Clin Gastroenterol. 2020 Oct 27. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0000000000001462. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND AND AIM: Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms have been reported with SARS-CoV-2 infection, but data on the prevalence and severity of GI symptoms in patients with cancer are limited. We sought to characterize the GI manifestations of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) in oncology patients.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We performed a multicenter cohort study of adult patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in 9 Massachusetts medical centers and identified those with an active malignancy. We evaluated the prevalence and severity of GI symptoms among hospitalized COVID-19 patients with cancer.

RESULTS: Of 395 hospitalized patients with COVID-19, 36 (9%) had an active malignancy. Of the 36 cancer patients, 23 (63%) reported ≥1 new GI symptom. The most prevalent symptoms were anorexia (12, 52%), diarrhea (9, 39%), and vomiting (8, 35%). GI symptoms were the initial symptom in 4/36 (11%) patients, were the predominant symptom in 5/36 (14%) patients, and were severe in 4/23 (17%) patients. Four of 5 patients with GI symptoms at presentation reported concurrent fever; notably 1 patient had no fever or respiratory symptoms. Twelve (33%) patients had elevations in liver transaminases at presentation; patients with elevated transaminases were more likely to have associated GI symptoms (83% vs. 54%, P=0.04).

CONCLUSIONS: Acute GI symptoms associated with COVID-19 are highly prevalent in hospitalized cancer patients and can occur as a presenting symptom without respiratory symptoms. Symptoms are severe in a small subset of patients.

PMID:33116066 | DOI:10.1097/MCG.0000000000001462

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