New Trend: COVID-Recovered Patients Develop Gallbladder Gangrene

New Delhi: In a worrying development, five patients developed gallbladder gangrene after recovering from COVID-19 at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

This is the first such cases reported in India, according to medical experts.

The patients – four men and a woman aged between 37 and 75 – were treated at the hospital between June and August this year. All of them complained of fever, pain in right upper quadrant of abdomen and vomiting, The Indian Express reported.

As for comorbidities, two patients were diabetic and one had heart disease.

Three of the five patients were administered steroids as part of COVID-19 treatment.

“We recently successfully treated five patients for gallbladder gangrene between June to August 2021, who had recovered from Covid-19 infection and presented with severe inflammation of gallbladder without gallstones (acalculous cholecystitis) resulting in gangrene of gallbladder requiring urgent surgery. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of a series of five cases from India in which gallbladder gangrene had occurred in patients after recovery from Covid-19 infection,” said Dr Anil Arora, Chairman of Institute of Liver, Gastroenterology and Pancreaticobiliary Sciences at the hospital.

It was observed that the duration between COVID-19 symptoms and diagnosis of ‘acalculous cholecystitis’ was about two months.

All five patients had necrotic perforated gallbladders removed through laparoscopy.

According to Dr Arora, ‘acalculous cholecystitis’ with gangrenous gallbladder is a serious condition with high morbidity (30-60%), and is seen in patients suffering from HIV, vascular disease, total parenteral nutrition, those on prolonged fasting, in ICUs and those with history of trauma, burns and sepsis.

None of the above five COVID-recovered patients had a history of the common and conventional conditions associated with ‘acalculous cholecystitis’.

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