A paper published today in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology by clinicians at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai outlines key information gastroenterologists and patients with chronic digestive conditions need to know about COVID-19, or coronavirus.
Coronavirus is of particular concern for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) who may take immunosuppression drugs. The paper, published in a journal of the American Gastroenterological Association, provides clear guidance:
Patients on immunosuppression drugs for IBD should continue taking their medications. The risk of disease flare far outweighs the chance of contracting coronavirus. These patients should also follow CDC guidelines for at-risk groups: avoid crowds and limit travel.
This is a rapidly evolving area with new information emerging on a daily basis. While COVID-19 is a significant global public health concern, it is important to keep its risks in perspective and stay up-to-date on current research and recommendations in order to provide our patients with the most accurate advice."
Ryan Ungaro, MD, MS, assistant professor of medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Key instruction for gastroenterologists:
- Use personal protective equipment during endoscopy as the GI tract may be a potential route of coronavirus infection.
- COVID-19 patients may complain of gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea.
- Laboratory findings described in COVID-19 patients include liver function test abnormalities.
Ungaro, R.C., et al. (2020) What Should Gastroenterologists and Patients Know About COVID-19?. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2020.03.020.