Coronavirus Disease 2019: A Gastroenterologists Perspective in May 2020

Monjur Ahmed


We are in the middle of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic which has affected every aspect of human life all over the world. Although COVID-19 primarily affects the lungs, it is in fact a multisystem disorder causing high mortality and panicking the whole world. Gastrointestinal (GI) manifestations of this disorder usually accompany respiratory manifestations and this combination is indicative of the severity of the disease. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA, which causes COVID-19, enters the body by attaching to angiotensin converting enzyme-2 receptors which are not only present in the respiratory tract but also in the GI tract. Person-to-person droplet transmission is the main mode of spread although there is potential for fecal-oral transmission. Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are not at increased risk of developing COVID-19 and they should continue to take their current medications. If they become positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA or COVID-19, their biologic therapy should be either delayed or on hold temporarily. GI endoscopy units are high-risk areas and GI procedures are high-risk procedures for the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Only emergency and semi-emergency procedures should be done, and elective procedures should be temporarily on hold until adequate resources are available. Endoscopists should use appropriate personal protective equipment. Mildly abnormal liver function tests (LFTs) are common in COVID-19 patients and are mostly due to systemic inflammatory response, hepatic ischemia or hepatotoxic medications. Close monitoring of liver function and supportive care of COVID-19 patients are recommended.

Gastroenterol Res. 2020;13(3):89-95


COVID-19; Gastrointestinal manifestations; SARS-CoV-2; Gastrointestinal endoscopy; Liver function test; Inflammatory bowel disease

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