Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has infected over 2 million people worldwide over the course of just several months. Various studies have highlighted that patients infected with COVID-19 may develop various degrees of liver injury. Here, we discuss the impact of underlying liver disease and manifestations of hepatic injury with COVID-19. We also review mechanisms of hepatic injury.
We searched the database PubMed for all studies focused on hepatic injury in COVID-19.
We identified 13 studies that assessed the impact of underlying liver disease in patients infected with COVID-19 (N=3046). Underlying liver disease was one of the most common known comorbid categories in patients infected with COVID-19. Overall, 25% of the patients identified from the 13 studies had hepatic injury. Twenty-one percent and 24% had elevated alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase values, respectively. Nine percent of the patients had elevated total bilirubin values. Ten of the 13 studies assessed COVID-19 acuity with severity of hepatic injury. In 9 of the 10 studies, clinical outcomes were worse with hepatic injury.
Liver injury is highly prevalent in patients that present with COVID-19. Since the liver is one of the most affected organs outside of the respiratory system in COVID-19, more intensive surveillance is warranted for severe cases, particularly among those with pre-existing advanced liver disease.