PGI finds irregular liver profile in Covid-19 sufferers


Naina Mishra

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16

In what may be a lesser known fact to many, researchers at the PGI have found that more than half of patients admitted to the hospital with SARS-CoV-2 infection had an abnormal liver function.

About the study

The PGI evaluated the liver function test results and inflammatory marker levels along with the medical history obtained from 170 adult patients of both genders with confirmed Covid-19 from March 15 to June 15. All Covid-19 positive patients of 15 years of age and above were included in the study. Patients suffering from chronic liver diseases, alcoholism, hepatitis, pregnant women and children (below 15 years) were excluded from the study.

Key findings

  • Of 152 Covid-19 positive patients, 89 (58.5%) had abnormal liver tests, of which 43 (48.31%) had liver injury during hospitalisation
  • Severity in terms of ICU requirement was more pronounced in patients with raised liver enzymes and liver injury
  • Elderly patients had preponderance towards severe liver injury
  • SARS-CoV-2 may possibly cause liver damage

The study was conducted by Dr Ram Krishan Saini, Dr Neha Saini, Dr Sant Ram, Dr Shiv Lal Soni, Dr Vikas Suri, Dr Pankaj Malhotra, Dr Jyotdeep Kaur, Dr Indu Verma, Dr Sadhna Sharma and Dr Deepy Zohmangaihi.

Dr Zohmangaihi of the department of bio chemistry, PGI, who is the corresponding author of the study, said: “Through our observation on Covid-19 patients, we have concluded that SARS-CoV-2 may possibly cause liver damage. Not many are aware of this as the primary organ affected by Covid is lungs. Abnormal liver profile was mostly found in Covid patients requiring ICU treatment.”

The findings of the study suggested that of 152 Covid-19 positive patients, 89 (58.5 per cent) had abnormal liver tests, of which 43 (48.31 per cent) had liver injury.

Severity in terms of ICU requirement was more pronounced in patients with raised liver enzymes and liver injury. In patients with normal liver enzymes, only 21.15 per cent required ICU admission while maximum requirement of 52.48 per cent was observed in patients with liver injury.

The study has also found that the elderly and male patients with abnormal liver function were at higher risk of developing severe disease. A noticeable elevated liver enzyme level was found in men (67.4 per cent) compared to women (46.03 per cent). This higher predisposition could be attributed to the higher expression of ACE2 receptors (ACE2 acts as the receptor for the SARS-CoV-2 virus and allows it to infect the cell) in men, as reported in a study at Wuhan.

Elderly patients had preponderance towards severe liver injury as patients above 50 years of age had more of mixed type of liver injury compared to those aged below 50 years.



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