Gastrointestinal symptoms in COVID-19 and disease severity: a Japanese registry-based retrospective cohort study

Japan COVID-19 Task Force

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Research on whether gastrointestinal symptoms correlate with the severity of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been inconclusive. This study aimed to clarify any associations between gastrointestinal symptoms and the prognosis of COVID-19. METHODS: We collected data from the Japanese nationwide registry for COVID-19 to conduct a retrospective cohort study. Data from 3498 Japanese COVID-19 patients, diagnosed at 74 facilities between February 2020 and August 2022, were analyzed in this study. Hospitalized patients were followed up until discharge or transfer to another hospital. Outpatients were observed until the end of treatment. Associations between gastrointestinal symptoms and clinical outcomes were investigated using multivariable-adjusted logistic regression models. RESULTS: The prevalence of diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain, and melena were 16.6% (581/3498), 8.9% (311/3498), 3.5% (121/3498), and 0.7% (23/3498), respectively. In the univariable analysis, admission to intensive care unit (ICU) and requirement for mechanical ventilation were less common in patients with diarrhea than those without (ICU, 15.7% vs. 20.6% (p = 0.006); mechanical ventilation, 7.9% vs. 11.4% (p = 0.013)). In the multivariable-adjusted analysis, diarrhea was associated with lower likelihood of ICU admission (adjusted odds ratio (aOR), 0.70; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.53-0.92) and mechanical ventilation (aOR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.42-0.89). Similar results were obtained in a sensitivity analysis with another logistic regression model that adjusted for 14 possible covariates with diarrhea (ICU; aOR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.53-0.93; mechanical ventilation; aOR 0.62; 95% CI, 0.42-0.92). CONCLUSIONS: Diarrhea was associated with better clinical outcomes in COVID-19 patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-208
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of gastroenterology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Mar 1


  • COVID-19
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal symptom
  • Japanese
  • Severity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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