A new study, published in the journal Radiology, has identified yet another way in which the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 can affect the body — by causing bowel abnormalities.
The retrospective study included 412 Covid-19 patients (241 men and 171 women) admitted to a single health facility from March 27 to April 10. Records showed that 17% of patients had cross-sectional abdominal imaging — ultrasounds, CT scans etc. Bowel abnormalities were seen on 31% of CT scans (3.2% of all patients) and were more frequent in intensive care unit (ICU) patients than other inpatients.
In a statement issued by the Radiological Society of North America, Dr Rajesh Bhayana of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, said: “We found bowel abnormalities on imaging in patients with Covid-19, more commonly in sicker patients who went to the ICU. Some findings were typical of bowel ischemia, or dying bowel, and in those who had surgery we saw small vessel clots beside areas of dead bowel. Patients in the ICU can have bowel ischemia for other reasons, but we know Covid-19 can lead to clotting and small vessel injury, so bowel might also be affected by this.”
According to the researchers, possible explanations for the spectrum of bowel findings in Covid-19 patients include direct viral infection, small vessel thrombosis, or “nonocclusive mesenteric ischemia”. They added, however, that further studies are required to clarify the cause of bowel findings in these patients, and to determine whether SARS-CoV-2 plays a direct role in bowel or vascular injury.
“Our study is preliminary, and more work is needed to understand the cause of bowel findings in these patients,” Dr Bhayana said. —Source: Radiological Society of North America
*Source: The Indian Express