One in five patients with Covid-19 may experience gastrointestinal symptoms, according to a review of academic studies published in the journal Abdominal Radiology.
The findings of the review suggested that abdominal radiologists need to remain cautious during the pandemic while imaging patients, EurekAlert reported.
The authors of the review study wrote that the gastrointestinal symptoms related to Covid-19 vary widely. This can include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and generalized abdominal pain.
The researchers who conducted the review reported that 18 per cent of Covid-19 positive patients experienced such symptoms, while 16 per cent of Covid-19 cases may only present with gastrointestinal symptoms.
Mitch Wilson, a radiologist and clinical lecturer in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry said: “There’s a growing amount of literature showing that abdominal symptomatology is a common presentation for Covid-19.”
For the review study, the researchers analyzed the findings from 36 studies published through July 15 to reach their conclusions.
In their study, they also mentioned that radiologists should look for potential signs while conducting abdominal imaging that could indicate the presence of SARS-CoV-2.
Those signs include inflammation of the small and large bowel, the air within the bowel wall (pneumatosis), and bowel perforation (pneumoperitoneum).
However, the researchers also noted that such signs are quite rare and could indicate patients with advanced disease.
Wilson said: “Seeing these things is not necessarily telling us a patient has Covid-19. It could be from a variety of potential causes. But one of those potential causes is infection from the virus. In an environment where Covid-19 is very prevalent, it’s something to consider and potentially raise as a possibility to the referring physician.”