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Szeya Cheung, Alain Delgado Fuentes, Alan D. Fetterman
(Department of Internal Medicine, Long Island Community Hospital, Patchogue, NY, USA)
Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e927076
The novel COVID-19 disease has infected more than 2 million people worldwide, causing more than 120 000 deaths. While the disease is known to primarily affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal manifestations can also occur. However, little is known about the development of acute pancreatitis in COVID-19. The present report highlights a patient with no precipitating risk factors for pancreatitis who presented with recurring acute pancreatitis following the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
CASE REPORT: An otherwise healthy 38-year-old man presented to the Emergency Department (ED) with fever and epigastric pain. Laboratory testing revealed a lipase level of 10 255 ukat/L. An abdominal ultrasound showed no gallstones. After ruling out the possible causes of acute pancreatitis, a diagnosis of idiopathic acute pancreatitis was made. He received conservative management and was discharged home after being medically stabilized. Of note, the patient tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection at a local testing center 1 week prior to presenting to the ED.
One week following the discharge, the patient returned with recurrent severe epigastric pain. Laboratory testing showed a lipase level of 20 320 ukat/L. An abdominal CT revealed acute pancreatitis. Further workups, including abdominal ultrasound, hepatitis serology, and immunoglobulin G for autoimmune pancreatitis, were unrevealing. Repeated SARS-CoV-2 testing produced positive results.
CONCLUSIONS: The temporal relationship between clinical presentation of acute pancreatitis and SARS-CoV-2 infection in this patient with no precipitating risk factors for pancreatitis suggests COVID-19-associated acute pancreatitis. Our review of the literature found a handful of reported cases of acute pancreatitis in patients with coexisting SARS-CoV-2 infection, and this report presents the first presumptive case of COVID-19-associated recurring acute pancreatitis.