Hyderabad: Doctors at KIMS Secunderabad saved a man's life who was suffering from a rare but serious COVID-19 infection, the obstruction of the small intestine.

While the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are sore throat, headache, cough, and shortness of breath, in two to five per cent of patients, the coronavirus can affect the gastrointestinal tract. Abdominal pain and abnormalities in liver enzymes can lead to death.

The 56-year-old Kadar Basha from Kadapa district was admitted to the hospital with severe fever and abdominal pain. Dr. Puli Chandra Sekhar, consultant medical gastroenterologist and advanced interventional endoscopist at KIMS Secunderabad, said the man was vomiting and was unable to eat.

"After several tests, we noticed that he has a severe narrowing in the small intestine along with the coronavirus symptoms. We started treatment. Before coming to KIMS, the patient was treated at a local hospital," the doctor said.

After a CT scan the doctor found that the coronavirus infection had caused an obstruction in the small intestine. "He was treated for two days with a variety of medications other than antivirals, steroids, and blood transfusions. After two days, the patient's condition gradually improved. We then performed a novel endoscopy called 'Enteroscope'. Novel endoscopy can easily solve problems in the small intestine. The small intestine, in particular, is so delicate that there is no scope to use any equipment," Dr. Sekhar said.

The endoscopy detected an obstruction in the small intestine and a biopsy was performed. "We have confirmed that it is a life-threatening problem caused by coronavirus infection. The patient recovered quickly after the obstruction was corrected immediately," the doctor added.

The effect of COVID-19 on the small intestine is very rare. So far, very few such cases have been reported but many have died in such rare cases. Autopsies showed that their small intestine had been affected by COVID-19.

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