(HealthDay)—Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are seen in less than 10 percent of patients with COVID-19, according to a meta-analysis published online May 4 in Gastroenterology.

Shahnaz Sultan, M.D., from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues performed a systematic literature search to identify studies describing data on GI and liver manifestations of COVID-19. The prevalence of diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain was analyzed, in addition to liver function test (LFT) abnormalities.

A meta-analysis was performed of 47 studies with 10,890 unique patients; most of the studies involved hospitalized patients. The researchers found that the pooled prevalence estimates for GI symptoms were 7.7, 7.8, and 2.7 percent for diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, and abdominal pain, respectively. The pooled prevalence of elevated liver abnormalities was 15.0 and 15.0 percent for both aspartate transaminase and alanine transaminase, respectively. Diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, and liver abnormalities were more prevalent in countries outside of China, with diarrhea reported in 18.3 percent of patients. Reports of isolated GI symptoms were rare.

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