ISSN ONLINE: 2558-815X
ISSN PRINT: 1584-9244
ISSN-L: 1584-9244

Digestive manifestations in patients with COVID-19


Introduction. The pandemic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection significantly marked our lives and still represents a health problem. The objectives of this study were to assess the most frequent digestive manifestations (DMs) and laboratory changes that may occur in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Materials and methods. A retrospective and analytical study was conducted between January 1st, 2020, and December 31st, 2022, on 120 patients admitted to the medical department of the Bihor County Emergency Clinical Hospital, Oradea, Romania. The patient’s data were collected through archived files, and the information was analyzed in an Excel file.
Results. We enrolled 120 patients (72 men) with COVID-19 and DMs over 3 years. A higher incidence was found in patients from urban area (55%) and in the 6th-7th (58%) decades of life. The most frequent symptom was diarrhea (37%), followed by nausea (29%), vomiting (18%), and abdominal pain (12%). Only 4% presented other gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms such as odynophagia or upper GI bleeding. Regarding liver damage, 25.83% of the patients had high levels of alanine aminotransferase, 20.83% of aspartate aminotransferase, 15.18% of total bilirubin, and 10% of morbidities were high blood pressure (62.5%), obesity (48.3%), and diabetes (35.83%). Based on computed tomography scans, mild (53%), moderate (39%), and severe (8%) forms of disease were observed. The evolution under treatment was favorable in 81 cases (67%). The patients with isolated DMs had a better evolution than those with associated respiratory symptoms.
Conclusions. COVID-19 remains a significant problem due to its rapid spread and the variety of symptoms. Besides respiratory symptoms, DMs are significant and highly correlated with outcomes in COVID-19 patients.

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Address for correspondence:
Cristina M. MACREA
University of Oradea, Doctoral School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Address: 3 Paunului Street, Apt. 9, Oradea, Bihor County, 410229, Romania
Email:; Phone +40 747 303 908


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Macrea CM, Popa EC, Paul IL, Mihele AI, Hocopan C, Matei SD, Fratila OC. Digestive manifestations in patients with COVID-19. Arch Balk Med Union. 2023;58(3):264-272.