March 18 (UPI) – Fever, cough and shortness of breath have been widely recognized as distinctive symptoms. COVID-19a disease caused by a new coronavirus, but a new analysis suggests that diarrhea can also be common.
While most patients with the virus have respiratory symptoms and signs, early experience in China shows that every fourth patient experiences digestive symptoms, as well as their main complaints.
The results were obtained from a descriptive multicenter cross-sectional study in China conducted by researchers from a group of medical treatment experts in Wuhan for COVID-19, published on Wednesday in American Journal of Gastroenterology,
“In this study, patients with digestive symptoms of COVID-19 have a worse clinical outcome and a higher risk of mortality than patients without digestive symptoms, emphasizing the importance of including symptoms such as diarrhea in order to suspect COVID-19 in the early stages of the disease before respiratory symptoms . develop, "said Dr. Brennan MR Spiegel, editor-in-chief of the magazine, in a press release." This could lead to an earlier diagnosis of COVID-19, which could lead to earlier treatment and more operational quarantine to minimize transmission from people who otherwise remain undetected. "
The results are based on data from 204 patients with COVID-19 who were hospitalized in three hospitals in Hubei Province from January 18, 2020 to February 28, 2020. The diagnosis of the disease was confirmed by real-time RT-PCR; the standard test is used for COVID-19.
Although the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention includes diarrhea and vomiting in its list of symptoms for COVID-19, fever, cough and shortness of breath – or the common phrase "flu symptoms" – are mentioned much more often, a case report published earlier this month by the journal Guthowever, listed diarrhea is a key symptom in a patient with COVID-19.
However, of the 204 patients included in the AJG study published on Wednesday, 99 reported gastrointestinal symptoms as their main complaint. Of these, 83 experienced anorexia – or weight loss – while 29 had diarrhea, eight had vomiting, and four had abdominal pain.
Notably, seven patients in the COVID-19 assay had digestive symptoms, but not respiratory symptoms.
In general, when the disease progressed to a serious extent, digestive symptoms became more pronounced. The authors found that those who did not have digestive symptoms were almost twice as likely to be cured and discharged than patients with digestive symptoms – 60% versus 34.3%.
In general, in the study population, the average time from the onset of symptoms to hospitalization was 8.1 days, but patients with digestive symptoms had significantly more time from onset to admission than in patients without digestive symptoms — nine versus 7.3 days. The authors suggest that this indicates that people with digestive symptoms sought help later because they did not suspect COVID-19 because they did not have respiratory symptoms.
“Clinicians should keep in mind that digestive symptoms, such as diarrhea, may be a characteristic of COVID-19, and that in these cases an increase in the index of suspicion may be required, rather than waiting for the appearance of respiratory symptoms,” the researchers wrote in the study.
“If clinicians monitor only respiratory symptoms to establish case definitions for COVID-19, they may miss cases in which extrapulmonary symptoms are initially present, or the disease can be diagnosed later until respiratory symptoms appear,” the researchers say.
. (TagsToTranslate) Health (s) COVID-19