MONDAY, March 27, 2023 (HealthDay News) — People with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection have an increased risk for gastrointestinal disorders after the acute phase of COVID-19, according to a study published online March 7 in Nature Communications.

Evan Xu, from the VA Saint Louis Health Care System, and colleagues estimated the risks and one-year burdens of prespecified gastrointestinal outcomes in a cohort of 154,068 people with COVID-19, 5,638,795 contemporary controls, and 5,859,621 historical controls.

The researchers found that the risks and one-year burdens of incident gastrointestinal disorders spanning various disease categories, including motility disorders, acid-related disorders, functional intestinal disorders, acute pancreatitis, and hepatic and biliary disease, were increased for people with COVID-19 beyond the first 30 days of infection. The risks were seen among those who were not hospitalized during the acute phase of COVID-19 and increased across the severity spectrum of COVID-19 (nonhospitalized, hospitalized, and with intensive care unit admission). Consistent risks were seen in comparisons of the COVID-19 group versus the contemporary control group and the COVID-19 group versus the historical control group.

“Taken with all the evidence that has accumulated thus far, the findings in this report call for the urgent need to double down and accelerate our effort to develop strategies to prevent and treat the long-term health effects after COVID-19 infection,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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