Background & aims: We compared clinical, laboratory, radiological, and outcome features of patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19) with pneumonia, with vs without diarrhea.
Methods: We performed a retrospective, single-center analysis of 84 patients with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia in Wuhan Union Hospital, China, from January 19 through February 7, 2020. Cases were confirmed by real-time reverse-transcriptase PCR of nasal and pharyngeal swab specimens for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Blood samples were analyzed for white blood cell count, lymphocyte count, alanine aminotransferase, creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase, D-dimer, C-reactive protein, and in some cases, immunoglobulins, complement, lymphocyte subsets, and cytokines. Virus RNA was detected in stool samples by real-time PCR.
Results: Of the 84 patients with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia, 26 (31%) had diarrhea. The duration of fever and dyspnea in patients with diarrhea was significantly longer than those without diarrhea (all P < .05). Stool samples from a higher proportion of patients with diarrhea tested positive for virus RNA (69%) than from patients without diarrhea (17%) (P < .001). As of February 19, a lower proportion of patients with diarrhea had a negative result from the latest throat swab for SARS-CoV-2 (77%) than patients without diarrhea (97%) (P = .010), during these patients' hospitalization. Of 76 patients with a negative result from their latest throat swab test during hospitalization, a significantly higher proportion of patients with diarrhea had a positive result from the retest for SARS-CoV-2 in stool (45%) than patients without diarrhea (20%) (P = .039).
Conclusions: At a single center in Wuhan, China, 31% of patients with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia had diarrhea. A significantly higher proportion of patients with diarrhea have virus RNA in stool than patients without diarrhea. Elimination of SARS-CoV-2 from stool takes longer than elimination from the nose and throat.
Keywords: COVID-19; Diarrhea; Pneumonia; SARS-CoV-2.
Copyright © 2020 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.