Objectives: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has become a global pandemic, raising widespread public health concerns. Our team treated hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, where the outbreak first began, and we suspected that SARS-CoV-2 may cause testicular infection in male patients. We conducted this study to explore that observation.
Methods: We enrolled male patients with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and performed a bedside ultrasound (US) examination of the scrotum, focused on findings of acute inflammation such as tunica albuginea thickening, enlargement and heterogeneous echogenicity of the testis, epididymis, or both, an abscess, scrotal wall edema, and hydrocele. Then we compared the proportions of observed epididymo-orchitis in patients from different age groups and COVID-19 severity groups.
Results: A total of 142 patients with COVID-19 were enrolled in our study, and 32 (22.5%) patients had acute orchitis, epididymitis, or epididymo-orchitis on scrotal US imaging, according to the diagnosis criteria. The observed risk of acute scrotal infection increased with age, with the incidence reaching 53.3% in men older than 80 years. We also observed that men with severe COVID-19 had a significantly higher possibility of epididymo-orchitis compared to the nonsevere COVID-19 group (P = .037).
Conclusions: This study shows US imaging evidence that SARS-CoV-2 may cause infection of the testis or epididymis, and the risk is worthy of the attention of clinicians.
Keywords: acute scrotum; coronavirus disease 2019; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; ultrasound imaging.
© 2020 American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine.