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Clues from the Pandora's Box: Frequency of Acute Abdominal Symptoms in COVID-19 and Its Association with Inflammatory Markers-a Cross-Sectional Study.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is primarily considered to be a respiratory ailment. Hitherto, abdominal symptoms have been reported with variable frequency in acute COVID-19. The purpose of this study was to estimate the frequency of abdominal symptoms at presentation among patients hospitalised with COVID-19 infection, and to determine their association with disease severity. This was a single-centre cross-sectional observational study conducted at a COVID-19 tertiary care hospital (CTRI/2021/10/037195, registered on 08/10/2021). Consecutive patients hospitalised with acute COVID-19 illness during the study period were included in the study. Their demographic information, abdominal symptoms, comorbidities and category of COVID-19 illness were elicited. All patients had serum inflammatory markers tested on the day of hospitalisation. Among the 685 participants, 214 patients had mild-to-moderate category illness whereas the rest 471 had severe COVID-19 illness. Abdominal complaints were present among 132/685 (18.3%) patients with distension of abdomen (8.03%) being the most common symptom, followed by vomiting (6.72%) and abdominal pain (3.94%). At admission to the hospital, abdominal complaints were commoner among patients with severe disease than in those with mild-to-moderate disease (101/471 vs. 31/214; p =0.029). Abdominal symptoms were associated with a higher neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio ( p =0.029). The mortality among COVID-19 patients with abdominal symptoms was higher (9.09 vs. 3.25%; p = 0.007). This study demonstrates the spectrum of abdominal symptoms that can be a part of acute COVID-19 at hospitalisation and also highlights their prognostic potential in acute COVID-19 infection.

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