Abdominal radiology must stay vigilant as almost 20% of COVID cases report with only GI symptoms

Almost one out of every 5 COVID-19 cases comes with only gastrointestinal symptoms, signaling the necessity for abdominal radiologists to stay vigilant through the pandemic, consultants suggested Monday.

Fever, cough, and fatigue are sometimes recognized as the most typical signs of the novel virus, however, physicians are increasingly seeing solely GI indicators amongst this population. These can include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Around 18% of patients present with such indications and 16% present only with GI issues, College of Alberta researchers detailed this week in Abdominal Radiology.

“Gastrointestinal manifestations and imaging manifestations of SARS-CoV-2 an infection are more and more reported and warrant specific consideration during abdominal imaging,” Kevin Lui, with the Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging on the Edmonton-based institution, and colleagues wrote Sept. 14.

To succeed in their conclusions, Lui and colleagues carried out a scientific review of research associated with the radiologic manifestations of COVID in abdomen imaging. They pinpointed 36 research, published by July 15, to include within the review.

Common imaging findings of the disease can embody bowel wall thickening, a fluid-filled colon, pneumatosis, pneumoperitoneum, intussusception, and ascites. These indications are uncommon, researchers noted, and oftentimes radiologists could spot COVID-19 incidentally on the base of the lungs whereas conducting CT imaging of the abdomen.

“Figuring out these features on abdominal imaging highlight the necessity to consider and evaluate for different manifestations of COVID-19 such as lung parenchymal findings,” the crew concluded. “In the applicable setting, COVID-19 could be raised as a consideration, particularly in patients presenting with atypical symptoms.”