Abdominal Pain: A Real Challenge in Novel COVID-19 Infection
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COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 19) is an infectious disease caused by coronavirus 2019-nCoV. Since its detection in China at the end of 2019, the novel coronavirus has rapidly spread throughout the world and has caused an international public health emergency. The most common manifestation is flu-like symptoms. Mild infections usually improve within a few days, but COVID-19 can cause severe pneumonia with acute respiratory distress syndrome and death.

Gastrointestinal symptoms are less common but possible and more difficult to recognize as part of a COVID-19 syndrome. In line with the current opinion of the WHO, we strongly believe that preventive measures and early diagnosis of COVID-19 are crucial to interrupt virus spread and avoid local outbreaks. This article reports the cases of COVID-19 patients admitted to the Emergency Department who complained of gastrointestinal symptoms at admission.

Abdominal pain is a real challenge for critical care physicians since there are many potential diagnoses. Signs and symptoms are often non-specific and can mask life-threating conditions. The consequences of wrongly attributing the pain can be serious for patients. Although gastrointestinal symptoms are less common in patients with COVID-19 infection, the diagnosis of coronavirus disease 2019 cannot be excluded and must be investigated in all patients referred to the Emergency Department. We strongly recommend bedside lung US to detect signs of interstitial pneumonia even in absence of respiratory symptoms. Early suspicion and diagnosis are essential to contain the global spread of COVID-19 infection and its potentially fatal complications, such as acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Source: https://www.ejcrim.com/index.php/EJCRIM/article/view/1632/2020
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