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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


COVID-19 in a Patient with Liver Cirrhosis

Unusual clinical course, Challenging differential diagnosis, Unusual setting of medical care

Rodrigo Fedatto Beraldo, Mariana Barros Marcondes, Maria Natália Marques dos Santos, Thais Gagno Grillo, Gabriel Barros Tambelli Pires, Cássio Vieira de Oliveira

Brazil Department of Internal medicine, São Paulo State University (Unesp), Medical School, Botucatu, SP, Brazil

Am J Case Rep 2021; 22:e929948

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.929948

Available online: 2021-01-29

Published: 2021-03-09


BACKGROUND: The severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), which manifests mainly as a respiratory condition, has become a global pandemic that causes coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19). Although the symptoms remain mild in most patients, the elderly and patients with previous comorbidities have higher rates of morbidity and mortality. Patients with liver cirrhosis, especially after decompensation, may be more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection due to systemic immune dysfunction.
CASE REPORT: The patient was a 51-year-old man who was hypertensive, an ex-alcoholic abstinent for 6 months, and a smoker. He was diagnosed with alcoholic liver cirrhosis in July 2019, and was using norfloxacin at home for secondary prophylaxis of bacterial peritonitis. He was also using furosemide and spironolactone to control ascites and propranolol for primary prophylaxis of esophageal varices. The patient entered our hospital in July 2020 with cough, dyspnea, runny nose, diarrhea, and fever. During hospitalization, we confirmed infection by COVID-19 and secondary nosocomial pulmonary infection. Chest tomography compatible with ground-glass standard was performed. The patient developed the need for auxiliary oxygen but without invasive mechanical ventilation. The patient received dexamethasone 6 mg/day and broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy (he was started on cefepime but switched to meropenem). At the end of the 14-day isolation period, he was discharged with improved respiratory status.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite high mortality rates in patients with advanced cirrhosis who become infected with COVID-19, we report a case with a favorable outcome. Success has been achieved with the use of medications in studies of broad-spectrum antibiotics and the rapid detection of complications caused by the virus. Further studies in SARS-CoV-2 patients with chronic liver disease are needed.

Keywords: COVID-19, Liver, Liver Cirrhosis, Liver Diseases, SARS Virus