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COVID-19 and comorbidities of hepatic diseases in a global perspective

Aqsa Ahmad, Syeda Momna Ishtiaq, Junaid Ali Khan, Rizwan Aslam, Sultan Ali,
World Journal of Gastroenterology , Volume 27, pp 1296-1310; doi:10.3748/wjg.v27.i13.1296

Abstract: The worldwide outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has challenged the priorities of healthcare system in terms of different clinical management and infection transmission, particularly those related to hepatic-disease comorbidities. Epidemiological data evidenced that COVID-19 patients with altered liver function because of hepatitis infection and cholestasis have an adverse prognosis and experience worse health outcomes. COVID-19-associated liver injury is correlated with various liver diseases following a severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection that can progress during the treatment of COVID-19 patients with or without pre-existing liver disease. SARS-CoV-2 can induce liver injury in a number of ways including direct cytopathic effect of the virus on cholangiocytes/hepatocytes, immune-mediated damage, hypoxia, and sepsis. Indeed, immediate cytopathogenic effects of SARS-CoV-2 via its potential target, the angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 receptor, which is highly expressed in hepatocytes and cholangiocytes, renders the liver as an extra-respiratory organ with increased susceptibility to pathological outcomes. But, underlying COVID-19-linked liver disease pathogenesis with abnormal liver function tests (LFTs) is incompletely understood. Hence, we collated COVID-19-associated liver injuries with increased LFTs at the nexus of pre-existing liver diseases and COVID-19, and defining a plausible pathophysiological triad of COVID-19, hepatocellular damage, and liver disease. This review summarizes recent findings of the exacerbating role of COVID-19 in pre-existing liver disease and vice versa as well as international guidelines of clinical care, management, and treatment recommendations for COVID-19 patients with liver disease.
Keywords: Pathophysiology / Liver disease / COVID-19 / Epidemiology / Prophylaxis

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