Coronvirus Symptoms: Diarrhea Is a Prominent Symptom of COVID-19, Finds Study From The American Journal of Gastroenterology by 30Seconds Health

Family Health
20 days ago
Coronvirus Symptoms: Diarrhea Is a Prominent Symptom of COVID-19, Finds Study From The American Journal of Gastroenterology

Digestive symptoms are common in COVID-19, occurring as the chief complaint in nearly half of patients presenting to hospital, according to a new descriptive, cross-sectional multicenter study from China by investigators from the Wuhan Medical Treatment Expert Group for COVID-19 published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Most patients with COVID-19 present with typical respiratory symptoms and signs. However, early experience with the outbreak in Wuhan, China, revealed that many patients experienced digestive symptoms as their chief complaint. “Clinicians must bear in mind that digestive symptoms, such as diarrhea, may be a presenting feature of COVID-19, and that the index of suspicion may need to be raised earlier in these cases rather than waiting for respiratory symptoms to emerge,” write the authors.

“In this study, COVID-19 patients with digestive symptoms have a worse clinical outcome and higher risk of mortality compared to those without digestive symptoms, emphasizing the importance of including symptoms like diarrhea to suspect COVID-19 early in the disease course before respiratory symptoms develop,” said Brennan M.R. Spiegel, M.D., MSHS, FACG, Co-Editor-in-Chief of The American Journal of Gastroenterology. “This may lead to earlier diagnosis of COVID-19, which can lead to earlier treatment and more expeditious quarantine to minimize transmission from people who otherwise remain undiagnosed.”

The authors underscore the importance of their finding that COVID-19 patients present with GI symptoms as their chief complaint and warn, “if clinicians solely monitor for respiratory symptoms to establish case definitions for COVID-19, they may miss cases initially presenting with extra-pulmonary symptoms, or the disease may not be diagnosed later until respiratory symptoms emerge.”

Key Findings

Compared to COVID-19 patients without digestive symptoms, those with digestive symptoms have a longer time from onset to admission and a worse clinical outcome, according to this analysis by investigators from several hospitals and research centers in China who gathered data on 204 patients with COVID-19 presenting to three hospitals in Hubei province from January 18, 2020, to February 28, 2020. Diagnosis was confirmed by real-time RT-PCR. Clinical characteristics, laboratory data and treatment information for the patients were included in the final analysis.

Of the 204 patients, the average age of the patients was 54.9 years (SD +15.4), including 107 men and 97 women. The average time from symptom onset to hospital admission was 8.1 days (SD +4.9)

Patients with digestive symptoms had a significantly longer time from onset to admission than patients without digestive symptoms (9.0 days versus 7.3 days). This may indicate that patients presenting with digestive symptoms sought care later because they did not yet suspect COVID-19 in the absence of respiratory symptoms, like cough or shortness of breath.

Patients with digestive symptoms had a variety of manifestations, such as anorexia (83 [83.8 percent] cases), diarrhea (29 [29.3 percent] cases), vomiting (8 [0.8 percent] cases), and abdominal pain (4 [0.4 percent] cases).

Seven patients with COVID-19 presented with digestive symptoms but no respiratory symptoms.

As the severity of the disease increased, digestive symptoms became more pronounced.

Patients without digestive symptoms were more likely to be cured and discharged than patients with digestive symptoms (60 percent vs. 34.3 percent).

Laboratory data revealed no significant liver injury, although other studies have shown signs of liver involvement. More research is required to understand the impact of COVID-19 on liver function.

Read the full study.

Source: Press release from Anne-Louise Oliphant, Vice President Communications, American College of Gastroenterology

The information on 30Seconds.com is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information provided through this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider.

Take 30 seconds and join the 30Seconds community. Inspire and be inspired.

Related Products on Amazon We Think You May Like:

30Second Mobile, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Disaster Preparation Tips: 17 Ways to Prepare Before a Coronavirus Outbreak Occurs in Your Community, From the CDC

How to Make Homemade Hand Sanitizer: These DIY Hand Sanitizer Recipes Are All Natural

America, Can You Hear Me? The Scary Reality of Living in Spain During the Coronavirus Pandemic

​The Sober Math Everyone Must Understand About the Coronavirus Pandemic, by Jason S. Warner

Elisa A. Schmitz 30Seconds
This is really good to know. We are so fortunate in the US to be able to have some learnings from the rest of the world before this hits us full force. I hope everyone is preparing themselves for what is coming (and what is already here). Be well, everyone, and thank you for sharing this.
Anna Olson DNP, APRN, ANP/GNP-BC
Who wrote this article? It is not posted.
Elisa A. Schmitz 30Seconds
Tele-Health Nurse Practitioner , this is from a press release sent to us by the American College of Gastroenterology. We have updated the article to include the link to that information. The link to the full study was already included in the post, and you can view the American College of Gastroenterology's statement here: gi.org/media/covid-19-and-gi/. Thank you! Donna John

join discussion

Please login to comment.

recommended tips

​Digestive Symptoms & COVID-19: Study Finds That Diarrhea Presents in Mild Coronavirus Disease, Sometimes Without Fever

Working From Home Can Be a Pain in the Neck (and Back): 4 Steps to Good Ergonomic Posture

Coronavirus Studies: New Study Finds Warmer Weather May Slow COVID-19 Spread & Cooler Weather May Accelerate It

DIY Face Masks for Coronavirus (COVID-19): Sew and No-Sew Face Mask Tutorials From the CDC

Got 30 seconds? Sign up for 30Seconds.com and get the best of our tips each week!