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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Superior Mesenteric Artery Thrombosis and Acute Intestinal Ischemia as a Consequence of COVID-19 Infection

Unusual clinical course, Challenging differential diagnosis, Management of emergency care, Rare coexistence of disease or pathology

Szeya Cheung, Joseph C. Quiwa, Ajish Pillai, Chuks Onwu, Zubin J. Tharayil, Ravi Gupta

USA Department of Internal Medicine, Long Island Community Hospital, Patchogue, NY, USA

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e925753

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.925753

Available online: 2020-07-20

Published: 2020-07-29

BACKGROUND: The novel COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus is a highly infectious disease that originated in Wuhan, China, and has rapidly spread throughout the world. In addition to respiratory complications, the virus has also been implicated in damage to other organ systems as well as coagulopathy. The present report describes the first presumptive case of COVID-19-associated acute superior mesenteric artery thrombosis and acute intestinal ischemia.
CASE REPORT: A 55-year old man presented to the emergency department with nausea, generalized abdominal pain and diarrhea; he denied having a fever or any respiratory symptoms. Computed tomography (CT) of the abdomen and pelvis revealed bilateral pulmonary ground-glass opacities. He tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, and was treated with hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and ceftriaxone, and was discharged home after five days of inpatient treatment. One week later, the patient returned with recurrent nausea, vomiting and worsening diffuse abdominal pain. A CT scan of the abdomen showed a 1.6-cm clot, causing high grade narrowing of the proximal superior mesenteric artery and bowel ischemia. The patient emergently underwent exploratory laparotomy, thromboembolectomy and resection of the ischemic small bowel. A post-operative complete hypercoagulable workup was unrevealing.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite the absence of respiratory symptoms, patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 may show atypical presentations, such as gastrointestinal symptoms. Clinicians managing patients with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection during the COVID-19 pandemic should monitor these patients for potential complications that may arise from this disease.

Keywords: Blood Coagulation, COVID-19, Embolism and Thrombosis, SARS Virus, Thrombophilia