De novo inflammatory bowel disease is a potential post-acute sequela of SARS-CoV-2 infection

  • Thanita Thongtan Texas Tech University Health and Science Center
  • Anasua Deb
  • Sameer Islam


Background: Even though patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are not at increased risk of COVID-19 infection, patients with post-acute COVID-19 have been reported to have de novo IBD or a new diagnosis of IBD.

Objective: This article reviews the presentation, diagnosis, and clinical course of patients described in the literature to have new-onset IBD after the diagnosis of COVID-19 infection as well as discusses the possible pathophysiological mechanism.

Methodology: Extensive literature review by compiling information from case reports and original studies identified by a Pubmed and EMBASE search from inception to May 2021.

Results: We identified 4 cases of de novo IBD that were reported in the literature, 2 weeks – 5 months after acute COVID-19 infection. Patients presented with persistent bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, and anemia. Three patients were diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and one patient was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. Available evidence indicates that COVID-19 infection can instigate an intestinal inflammation and trigger de novo IBD, potentially through intestinal barrier leakage, alterations in gene expression, gut microbiota dysbiosis, and exaggerated immune response.

Conclusion: The presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the gut can cause de novo IBD through complex multiple factors. Further studies need to be done to confirm a causal link and the underlying mechanism. Clinicians should be vigilant about the possibility of IBD in patients present with anemia, abdominal pain, or chronic bloody diarrhea after a short interval of COVID-19 infection that warrant a referral to a gastroenterologist.


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How to Cite
Thongtan, T., Deb, A., & Islam, S. (2021). De novo inflammatory bowel disease is a potential post-acute sequela of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The Southwest Respiratory and Critical Care Chronicles, 9(41), 35-39.