Digestive involvement in COVID-19: what we have learned in the past 12 months
Background and aim. The year 2020 will remain in the medical history as the year of COVID-19 pandemic. Although COVID-19 is considered mainly a respiratory disease, it is well known now that SARS-CoV-2 can affect major organs including the digestive system. This is a comprehensive review on gastrointestinal involvement in the SARS-CoV-2 infection, also the digestive damage due to COVID-19.
Methods. A literature search was undertaken in main databases of medical publications following the search items digestive or gastrointestinal or gastric or enteral and SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19. Data on gastrointestinal symptoms and alterations in this viral condition were collected and presented. Only observational studies were included.
Results. In this review we discuss the recent information on the relationship between COVID-19 and the digestive system. The putative underlying pathogenic mechanisms of COVID-19 as well as the clinical findings in relation to gastrointestinal changes are presented.
Conclusions. SARS-CoV-2 virus can affect any part of the digestive system. Patients with chronic diseases are at greatest risk of adverse out-comes. There is a considerable risk for drug-drug interactions in patients who require a large treatment schedule.