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COVID-19: First bowel imaging study implicates blood clots

Massachusetts General Hospital
the Department of Radiology

Rajesh Bhayana


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The New York Times
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An analysis of abdominal scans suggests that blood clots in small arteries may starve bowel tissue of oxygen in the most severely ill patients.In the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, doctors believed the main symptoms to be fever, cough, muscle pain, and fatigue.As case numbers rose worldwide, doctors increasingly noted gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. ACE2 is abundant on the cells lining the alveoli of the lungs, but large concentrations of the protein also exist on cells that line the small intestine and those lining blood vessels.Providing further evidence of the vulnerability of the gut, scientists have detected the virus in stool samples from COVID-19 patients.Recently, clinicians at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston carried out the first analysis of abdominal scans, revealing changes in the liver and intestine that they associate with the infection.They report their findings in the journal Radiology.The researchers studied the records of 412 adults with COVID-19 whom doctors had admitted to the hospital between March 27 and April 10, 2020.

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