WEDNESDAY, July 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Nearly one in five patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, with persistence of symptoms in some patients for up to six months, according to a study recently published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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

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

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

One author disclosed financial ties to Pentax Medical.

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