Digestive involvement in the Long-COVID syndrome
Background and aim. The SARS-CoV-2 infection which caused a worldwide epidemic was considered first a lung disease. Later on, it was found that the disease caused by this virus, SARS-CoV-2, can affect most organs, including the digestive system. The long-term effects of this infection are now progressively detected and called Long-COVID. This review aims is to present the updated knowledge of the digestive sequelae after SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Methods. A search was performed in the main medical literature databases. The following search terms were used: long-covid, gastrointestinal or gastric sequelae SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. Data on gastrointestinal symptoms after 12 weeks were collected and presented. Observational studies were included. Studies that focus only on acute COVID-19 infection (<4 weeks) were excluded.
Results. The main symptoms that can occur in the long term are: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, along with increased liver enzymes. Patients with chronic diseases have a higher risk of developing long-term sequelae, but it is not documented that digestive sequelae are influenced by the presence of chronic diseases.
Conclusions. The SARS-CoV-2 virus can affect any part of the digestive system not only in the acute infection phase but also for longer time, leaving long-term sequelae.