Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been spreading all over the world since December 2019. However, medical information regarding the urogenital involvement in recovered COVID-19 patients is limited or unknown.
Objectives: To comprehensively evaluate urogenital involvement in recovered COVID-19 patients.
Materials and methods: Men aged between 20 years and 50 years who were diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection and recovered when the study was conducted were enrolled in our study. Demographic and clinical characteristics, and history of hospitalization were collected and analyzed. Urine, expressed prostatic secretions (EPSs), and semen samples were collected for SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection. Semen quality and hormonal profiles were analyzed.
Results: Among 74 male recovered COVID-19 patients, 11 (14.9%) were asymptomatic, classified into mild type, and 31 (41.9%) were classified into moderate type. The remaining patients (32/74, 43.2%) had severe pneumonia. No critically ill recovered COVID-19 patient was recruited in our cohort. The median interval between last positive pharyngeal swab RT-PCR test and semen samples collection was 80 days (IQR, 64-93). The median age was 31 years (IQR, 27-36; range, 21-49), and the median body mass index (BMI) was 24.40 (IQR, 22.55-27.30). Forty-five (61.6%) men were married, and 28 (38.4%) were unmarried. Fifty-three (72.6%) patients denied cigarette smoking, 18 (24.7%) were active smokers, and 2 of them were past smokers. The majority of our participants (53/74, 72.6%) did not consume alcohol. Fever occurred in most of the patients (75.3%), and 63 of them had abnormal chest CT images. Only one patient complained of scrotal discomfort during the course of COVID-19, which was ruled out orchitis by MRI (data not shown). A total of 205 samples were collected for SARS-CoV-2 detection (74 urine samples, 70 semen samples, and 61 EPS samples). However, viral nucleic acid was not detected in body fluids from the urogenital system. In terms of hormonal profiles, the levels of FSH, LH, testosterone, and estradiol were 5.20 [4.23] mIU/mL, 3.95 [1.63] mIU/mL, 3.65 [1.19] ng/mL, and 39.48 [12.51] pg/mL, respectively. And these values were within the normal limits. The overall semen quality of recovered COVID-19 patients was above the lower reference limit released by the WHO. While compared with healthy control, sperm concentration, total sperm count, and total motility were significantly declined. In addition, different clinical types of COVID-19 have no significant difference in semen parameters, but total sperm count showed a descending trend. Interestingly, subjects with a longer recovery time showed worse data for sperm quality. Small sample size and lacking semen parameters before the infection are the major limitations of our study.
Discussion and conclusions: To the best of our knowledge, it is the largest cohort study with longest follow-up for urogenital evaluation comprehensively so far. Direct urogenital involvement was not found in the recovered COVID-19 male patients. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was undetectable in the urogenital secretions, and semen quality declined slightly, while hormonal profiles remained normal. Moreover, patients with a long time (≥90 days) since recovery had lower total sperm count. Great attention and further study should be conducted and follow-up on the reproductive function in the following months.
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; expressed prostatic secretion; infertility; semen.
© 2020 American Society of Andrology and European Academy of Andrology.