Outcomes of Acute Gastrointestinal Bleeding in Patients With COVID-19: A Case-Control Study

Gastroenterology Res. 2022 Feb;15(1):13-18. doi: 10.14740/gr1483. Epub 2022 Jan 10.


Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients are at higher risk of acute gastrointestinal bleeding (AGIB) due to higher use of steroids, mechanical ventilation, and use of anticoagulation. We performed this study to compare outcomes of AGIB in COVID-19-positive patients and those without COVID-19 and AGIB.

Methods: This was a case-control study including patients admitted from March 2020 to February 2021 with the diagnosis of AGIB. Patients were divided into two groups: COVID-19-positive and non-COVID-19 patients. Our primary outcomes were in-hospital or 30 days mortality and length of stay. Secondary outcomes were the rate of rebleeding, the need for intensive care unit (ICU) level of care, and the need for blood transfusion.

Results: Eighteen COVID-19-positive patients and 54 matched non-COVID-19 patients were included. The COVID-19-positive patients less frequently had endoscopies performed (33.3% vs. 74.1%, P = 0.0059) and had greater steroid use (83.3% vs. 14.8%, P < 0.0001) compared to non-COVID-19 patients. ICU stays were more likely in the COVID-positive patients (odds ratio (OR): 20.41; 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.59 - 160.69; P = 0.004) as was longer hospital length of stay (OR: 1.08; 95% CI: 1.03 - 1.13; P = 0.002). Mortality, readmission within 30 days, need for blood transfusion, and having rebleeding during the admission did not differ for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.

Conclusion: COVID-19 patients with AGIB are more likely to require ICU admission and had a longer length of stay. Despite the significantly lower rate of endoscopic procedures performed in patients with COVID-19, need for blood transfusion, mortality and rebleeding were not significantly different.

Keywords: Acute gastrointestinal bleeding; COVID-19; Lower GI bleeding; Mortality; Upper GI bleeding.