Multisystem effects of COVID-19: a concise review for practitioners

Postgrad Med. 2021 Jan;133(1):20-27. doi: 10.1080/00325481.2020.1823094. Epub 2020 Nov 4.


While COVID-19 has primarily been characterized by the respiratory impact of viral pneumonia, it affects every organ system and carries a high consequent risk of death in critically ill patients. Higher sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) scores have been associated with increased mortality in patients critically ill patients with COVID-19. It is important that clinicians managing critically ill COVID-19 patients be aware of the multisystem impact of the disease so that care can be focused on the prevention of end-organ injuries to potentially improve clinical outcomes. We review the multisystem complications of COVID-19 and associated treatment strategies to improve the care of critically ill COVID-19 patients.

Keywords: COVID-19; COVID-19 complications; COVID-19 management; COVID-19 mechanism of injury; COVID-19 multi-system effects; coronavirus; coronavirus multi-system effects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / mortality
  • COVID-19 / physiopathology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Critical Illness
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Endocrine System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Hematologic Diseases / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Organ Dysfunction Scores
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Skin Diseases / physiopathology
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / physiopathology


  • Cytokines

Supplementary concepts

  • pediatric multisystem inflammatory disease, COVID-19 related