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Covid-19Health Professionals Blog

COVID-19-induced liver injury in infants, children, and adolescents

Title: COVID-19-induced liver injury in infants, children, and adolescents

Source: World Journal of Clinical Pediatrics 2023, 12 (3): 57-67

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Date of publication: June 2023

Publication type: Review

Abstract: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) typically presents with fever and respiratory symptoms in children. Most children develop an asymptomatic and mild illness, with a minority requiring specialist medical care. Gastrointestinal manifestations and liver injury can also occur in children following infection. The mechanisms of liver injury may include infection following direct viral hepatic tissue invasion, immune response, or medication effects. Affected children might develop mild liver dysfunction which has a benign course in most children with no pre-existing liver disease. However, the presence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or other pre-existing chronic liver disorders is associated with a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 illness with poor outcomes. On the other hand, the presence of liver manifestations is associated with the severity of COVID-19 disease and is considered an independent prognostic factor. Respiratory, hemodynamic, and nutritional supportive therapies are the mainstay of management. Vaccination of children at increased risk of developing severe COVID-19 disease is indicated. This review describes the liver manifestations in children with COVID-19, detailing its epidemiology, basic mechanisms, clinical expression, management, and prognosis in those with and without pre-existing liver disease and also children who have had earlier liver transplantation.

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