Involvement of the Liver in COVID-19: A Systematic Review

Link to article at PubMed

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2022 Feb 24:tpmd211240. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.21-1240. Online ahead of print.


COVID-19, a respiratory viral infection, has affected 388 million individuals worldwide as of the February 4, 2022. In this review, we have outlined the important liver manifestations of COVID-19 and discussed the possible underlying pathophysiological mechanisms and their diagnosis and management. Factors that may contribute to hepatic involvement in COVID-19 include direct viral cytopathic effects, exaggerated immune responses/systemic inflammatory response syndrome, hypoxia-induced changes, vascular changes due to coagulopathy, endothelitis, cardiac congestion from right heart failure, and drug-induced liver injury. The majority of COVID-19-associated liver symptoms are mild and self-limiting. Thus management is generally supportive. Liver function tests and abdominal imaging are the primary investigations done in relation to liver involvement in COVID-19 patients. However, imaging findings are nonspecific. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 RNA has been found in liver biopsies. However, there is limited place for liver biopsy in the clinical context, as it does not influence management. Although, the management is supportive in the majority of patients without previous liver disease, special emphasis is needed in those with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, hepatitis B and C infections, and alcoholic liver disease, and in liver transplant recipients.

PMID:35203056 | DOI:10.4269/ajtmh.21-1240

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