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BACKGROUND: Describe the incidence and associated outcomes of gastrointestinal (GI) manifestations of acute coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in hospitalized children (MIS-C).
METHODS: Retrospective review of the Viral Infection and Respiratory Illness Universal Study registry, a prospective observational, multicenter international cohort study of hospitalized children with acute COVID-19 or MIS-C from March 2020 to November 2020. The primary outcome measure was critical COVID-19 illness. Multivariable models were performed to assess for associations of GI involvement with the primary composite outcome in the entire cohort and a subpopulation of patients with MIS-C. Secondary outcomes included prolonged hospital length of stay defined as being >75th percentile and mortality.
RESULTS: Of the 789 patients, GI involvement was present in 500 (63.3%). Critical illness occurred in 392 (49.6%), and 18 (2.3%) died. Those with GI involvement were older (median age of 8 yr), and 18.2% had an underlying GI comorbidity. GI symptoms and liver derangements were more common among patients with MIS-C. In the adjusted multivariable models, acute COVID-19 was no associated with the primary or secondary outcomes. Similarly, despite the preponderance of GI involvement in patients with MIS-C, it was also not associated with the primary or secondary outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS: GI involvement is common in hospitalized children with acute COVID-19 and MIS-C. GI involvement is not associated with critical illness, hospital length of stay or mortality in acute COVID-19 or MIS-C.