A Systematic Review of the Prevalence of Persistent Gastrointestinal Symptoms and Incidence of New Gastrointestinal Illness after Acute SARS-CoV-2 Infection

The study “A Systematic Review of the Prevalence of Persistent Gastrointestinal Symptoms and Incidence of New Gastrointestinal Illness after Acute SARS-CoV-2 Infection” investigates the long-term gastrointestinal effects of COVID-19.

Here’s a detailed summary:

Study Overview:

  • The research focused on understanding the prevalence of persistent gastrointestinal symptoms and the incidence of new gastrointestinal illnesses following acute SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Methodology:

  • The study involved a systematic review of scientific literature from December 2019 to July 2023, using databases like MedLine, SCOPUS, Europe PubMed Central, and medRxiv.
  • A total of 45 eligible articles were identified, which examined various gastrointestinal outcomes post acute SARS-CoV-2 infection.
  • The quality of the studies was assessed using the Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Tools​​.

Key Findings:

  • The weighted pooled prevalence for persistent gastrointestinal symptoms of any nature and duration was found to be 10.8%, which is higher compared to 4.9% in healthy controls.
  • In seven high-quality studies, the prevalence of these symptoms varied from 0.2% to 24.1%, with a median follow-up time of 18 weeks.
  • The review also noted an increased risk for future gastrointestinal illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome, dyspepsia, hepatic and biliary disease, liver disease, and autoimmune-mediated illnesses like inflammatory bowel disease and coeliac disease in individuals previously exposed to SARS-CoV-2.
  • The findings suggest that past exposure to SARS-CoV-2 might be associated with ongoing gastrointestinal symptoms and the development of functional gastrointestinal illnesses​​.

Implications and Conclusion:

  • This systematic review highlights the need for high-quality research to better understand the link between SARS-CoV-2 and gastrointestinal illness.
  • The study underscores the importance of considering the potential long-term gastrointestinal impacts of COVID-19, especially as population exposure to enteric infections returns to pre-pandemic levels​​.

In summary, the research presents significant evidence of the long-lasting gastrointestinal effects of COVID-19, emphasizing the importance of further investigation into these post-infection complications.

Read More: https://www.mdpi.com/1999-4915/15/8/1625

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