Crtical Care and Shock Journal

COVID-19 as a probable cause of acute pancreatic injury

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Overview

Abstract

Acute pancreatic pseudocysts are increasingly recognized as complications in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Therefore, it is important for healthcare providers to be aware of this phenomenon to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment. Up to 17% of patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection have been shown to develop pancreatic lesions. These pancreatic lesions can be caused directly by the cytopathic effects of the viral infection or indirectly by systemic responses to inflammation or respiratory failure. Several studies have shown that angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the functional receptor used by SARS-CoV-2 to gain access to target cells, while ACE2 receptors are expressed in significant amounts in the pancreas. In this article, we present 2 cases of COVID-19 patients that presented with similar pancreatic lesions. The first case was a 47-year-old lady who presented to the emergency department (ED) with flu-like symptoms for ten days. Incidental findings on computed tomography (CT) scan showed a large, multiloculated cystic mass in the pancreatic tail. The second case was an 81-year-old Caucasian lady who presented to the outpatient clinic with multiple chronic complaints after an acute COVID-19 infection four months prior. Abdominal CT scan with oral contrast revealed multiple hypodense masses on the pancreas measuring 0.3 cm in diameter. The cases we reported in this article showed the degree of COVID-19’s effect on the gastrointestinal system, with pancreatic injury occurring during the early phases of the acute phase of the infection and lasting up to 4 months post-resolution of the infection.

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June 2024, Volume 27 Number 3
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