Long-term gastrointestinal outcomes of COVID-19

Evan Xu, Yan Xie, Ziyad Al-Aly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


A comprehensive evaluation of the risks and 1-year burdens of gastrointestinal disorders in the post-acute phase of COVID-19 is needed but is not yet available. Here we use the US Department of Veterans Affairs national health care databases to build a cohort of 154,068 people with COVID-19, 5,638,795 contemporary controls, and 5,859,621 historical controls to estimate the risks and 1-year burdens of a set of pre-specified incident gastrointestinal outcomes. We show that beyond the first 30 days of infection, people with COVID-19 exhibited increased risks and 1-year burdens of incident gastrointestinal disorders spanning several disease categories including motility disorders, acid related disorders (dyspepsia, gastroesophageal reflux disease, peptic ulcer disease), functional intestinal disorders, acute pancreatitis, hepatic and biliary disease. The risks were evident in people who were not hospitalized during the acute phase of COVID-19 and increased in a graded fashion across the severity spectrum of the acute phase of COVID-19 (non-hospitalized, hospitalized, and admitted to intensive care). The risks were consistent in comparisons including the COVID-19 vs the contemporary control group and COVID-19 vs the historical control group as the referent category. Altogether, our results show that people with SARS-CoV-2 infection are at increased risk of gastrointestinal disorders in the post-acute phase of COVID-19. Post-covid care should involve attention to gastrointestinal health and disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number983
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


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