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Gastro-intestinal symptoms are associated with a lower in-hospital mortality rate in frail older patients hospitalized for COVID-19

Journal Volume 84 - 2021
Issue Fasc.1 - Letters
Author(s) N. Lanthier 1 2 3, C. Mahiat 3, S. Henrard 4 5, P. Stärkel 1 2 3, I. Gilard 3, I. De Brauwer 3 4, P. Cornette 3 4, B. Boland 3 4
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Full Article
PAGES 135-136
(1) Service d’Hépato-gastroentérologie, Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc, UCLouvain, Brussels, Belgium
(2) Laboratory of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Institut de Recherche Expérimentale et Clinique (IREC), UCLouvain, Brussels, Belgium
(3) Service de Gériatrie, Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc, UCLouvain, Brussels, Belgium
(4) Institute of Health and Society (IRSS), UCLouvain, Brussels, Belgium
(5) Louvain Drug Research Institute (LDRI), Clinical Pharmacy research group, UCLouvain, Brussels, Belgium

In the previous issue of Acta Gastro-Enterologica Belgica, a meta-analysis on the presence of gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms in patients with COVID-19 was published. (1). The pooled prevalence of GI manifestations was 12% with diarrhea being the most frequent digestive symptom (8%). Other reports show an incidence rate of diarrhea ranging from 2% to 50%. A question emerges after reading this systematic review : is the presence of these GI symptoms associated with a particular prognosis? At Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc, we analyzed the first cohort of geriatric patients admitted for COVID-19. (2). The study population consisted of 50 consecutive patients admitted between March 11 and April 17, 2020 to the geriatric COVID-19 units of our Belgian academic hospital, with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection confirmed by reverse-transcriptase-polymerase-chainreaction (RT-PCR) (2). Another inclusion criteria was the presence of vulnerability/frailty defined by a clinical frailty scale equal or higher than 4 (2). In this cohort, GI symptoms were present in 30% of the patients at the time of COVID-19 diagnosis. We then compared the patients on the basis of intra hospital mortality (IHM), with a total IHM of 52%, and assessed the factors associated with it (2). Interestingly, GI symptoms were significantly more frequent in the patients alive at discharge than in those who died in the hospital (45.8% vs. 15.4%, p=0.02)

Keywords: coronavirus, COVID-19, diarrhea, digestive symptoms, liver, mortality prognosis.

© Acta Gastro-Enterologica Belgica.
PMID 33639706