Joshua Bender: The Impact of COVID-19 on Liver Injuries

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COVID-19 patients with liver injuries are at a higher risk of mortality or lengthier hospital stays.

New research presented during the 2021 Digestive Disease Week (DDW) Virtual Meeting shows that liver injuries are common in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

A team, led by Joshua Bender, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, found these injuries are associated with an increased risk of lengthy intensive care unit stays or death.

In the retrospective cohort study, the researchers examined data from 551 hospitalized COVID-19 patients at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Irving Medical Center between March 1 and May 31, 2020.

The investigators analyzed patient demographics, laboratory test results, vital signs, medical history, and clinical outcomes for this patient population and characterized liver injuries for patients with abnormal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and/or alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activities as cholestatic, mixed, or hepatocellular.

Overall, 58.2% of patients had a cholestatic injury pattern, 35.2% were mixed, and 6.6% of the patient population hepatocellular injury.

In addition, any comorbid liver disease, cirrhosis, or hepatitis C was not associated with clinical outcome, while abnormal direct bilirubin and albumin on admission was linked to length of ICU stay and mortality.

In an interview with HCPLive®, Bender analyzed what the study results mean and how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted medical care and research in virtually every space.