COVID-19 inpatients with gastrointestinal onset: sex and care needs’ differences in the district of Ferrara, Italy

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Background: COVID-19 is characterized by interstitial pneumonia, but a presentation of the disease with digestive symptoms only may occur. This work was aimed at evaluating: (1) the prevalence of presentation with digestive symptoms only in our cohort of COVID-19 inpatients; (2) differences between patients with and without gastrointestinal onset; (3) differences among males and females with gastrointestinal presentation; (4) outcomes of the groups of subjects with and without gastrointestinal onset. Method: We retrospectively divided the patients hospitalized with COVID-19 into two groups: (1) the one with digestive symptoms (DSG) and (2) the other without digestive symptoms (NDSG). We compared the subjects of DSG with those of NDSG and males with females in the DSG group only, in terms of demographics (age, sex), inflammation and organ damage indexes, length of stay, in-hospital and 100-day mortality. Results: The prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms at presentation was 12.5%. The DSG group showed a prevalence of females, and these tended to a shorter hospital stay; DSG patients were younger and with a higher load of comorbidities, but no differences concerning inflammation and organ damage indexes, need for intensification of care, in-hospital and 100-day mortality were detected. Among DSG patients, males were younger than females, more comorbid, with higher serum CRP and showed a longer length of hospital stay. Survival functions of DSG patients, in general, are more favourable than those of NDSG if adjusted for sex, age and comorbidities. Conclusions: (1) The prevalence of gastrointestinal presentation among hospitalized COVID-19 patients was 12.5%; (2) DSG patients were on average younger, more comorbid and with a prevalence of females, with a shorter hospital stay; (3) in the DSG group, males had a higher Charlson Comorbidity Score and needed a longer hospital stay; (4) DSG subjects seem to survive longer than those of the NDSG group.




Greco, S., Fabbri, N., Bella, A., Bonsi, B., Parini, S., Rocchi, C., … Feo, C. V. (2021). COVID-19 inpatients with gastrointestinal onset: sex and care needs’ differences in the district of Ferrara, Italy. BMC Infectious Diseases, 21(1).

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