In December 2019, a new Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in China, causing the pandemic disease COVID-19. The clinical presentation is variable, but the predominant symptoms are those of the upper respiratory tract.
Aim: The aim of the current study is to describe the incidence and type of the gastrointestinal injury (GI) in COVID-19, as well as their prognostic value.
Materials and methods: We conducted a coincidental search on this topic in PubMed, Web of Science and EMBASE. We also followed a group of 31 Bulgarian COVID-19 patients throughout the course of their disease and analyzed their symptoms (catarrhal and other) and outcome.
Results: The publications concerning our survey followed a total of 1509 COVID-19 patients. In the Bulgarian cohort, only 14 from the 31 patients were laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases. Approximately 1/3 of the infected individuals presented with GI. In some patients this was the first, or only, symptom of the disease. It was also indicative of a more severe disease course.
Conclusion: GI may be an important symptom and prognostic factor in COVID-19. Therefore, patients with acute gastrointestinal symptoms must be actively tested for SARS-CoV-2.