HealthDay News — Nearly 1 in 5 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, with persistence of symptoms in some patients for up to 6 months, according to a study recently published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Anam Rizvi, MD, from Northwell Health System in New Hyde Park, New York, and colleagues assessed GI sequelae 3 and 6 months after hospitalization for COVID-19. The analysis included adult patients hospitalized for COVID-19 infection from March 1, 2020, to January 24, 2021, across 12 hospitals within a single health system.

The researchers found that of the 17,462 hospitalized patients, 18.5% had GI manifestations. At 3 months of follow-up, 22.1% of patients had GI manifestations, as did 24.4% at 6 months of follow-up. Initial GI symptoms included gastroenteritis (52.5%), GI bleeding (20.4%), malnutrition (23.0%), and idiopathic pancreatitis (0.5%). Gastroenteritis resolved in most patients at follow-up (90.5% at 3 months and 89.4% at 6 months), as did GI bleeding (92.0% at 3 months and 94.7% at 6 months). Inability for weight regain persisted in 50.6% of patients at 3 months and in 32.4% at 6 months.

“It may be imperative to establish malnutrition screening practices in post-COVID-19 patients who have recovered from acute infection,” the authors write.

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One author disclosed financial ties to Pentax Medical.

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