Doctors from China have found the first evidence that the most severe forms of coronavirus infection can be accompanied by severe gastrointestinal problems. They described their findings in an article published in the electronic library medRxiv.org
“For the first time we followed how often acute disturbances in the functioning of the stomach and intestines were encountered in critically ill carriers of the virus. It turned out that these problems were characteristic of 86.7% of them, and their depth was directly related to how bad the infection was, the researchers write.
Chinese doctors from Wuhan University of Science and Technology and Nanjing Medical University came to this conclusion after studying the general symptoms characteristic of coronavirus carriers who are in critical condition.
To do this, experts studied the medical history of patients who were in hospitals in Wuhan between the first week of February and the first week of March. In total, there were 1,300 people, 83 of whom 83 were in critical condition. Half of them died by the middle of this month.
Studying the nature of the course of the disease in surviving and deceased seriously ill patients, doctors noticed one unusual common feature: 72 out of 83 patients (86%) suffered not only from pneumonia, fever and other typical symptoms of coronavirus infection, but also a number of problems with the gastrointestinal tract (Gastrointestinal tract). In half of the cases, as scientists note, these injuries were irreversible, and in the rest of the patients they disappeared after their recovery.
As the researchers note, it is not yet clear whether these disorders in the work of the stomach and intestines due to the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the body of patients, or whether they were present even before infection. On the other hand, scientists suggest that the former is more likely, since similar injuries sometimes occurred in carriers of the SARS viruses and the Middle East fever MERS - "relatives" of the new type of coronavirus.
This is also supported by the fact that the severity of digestive disorders was directly related to the probability of death of the patient, the duration of the disease and the severity of its other symptoms. All this, according to Chinese experts, should be taken into account when making decisions on hospitalization and treatment of COVID-19.