New COVID-19 info for gastroenterologists and patients

March 18, 2020

Bethesda, Maryland (March 18, 2020) -- A paper published today in by clinicians at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai outlines key information gastroenterologists and patients with chronic digestive conditions need to know about COVID-19, or coronavirus.

Coronavirus is of particular concern for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) who may take immunosuppression drugs. The paper, published in a journal of the American Gastroenterological Association, provides clear guidance:

Patients on immunosuppression drugs for IBD should continue taking their medications. The risk of disease flare far outweighs the chance of contracting coronavirus. These patients should also follow CDC guidelines for at-risk groups: avoid crowds and limit travel.

"This is a rapidly evolving area with new information emerging on a daily basis," says Ryan Ungaro, MD, MS, assistant professor of medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "While COVID-19 is a significant global public health concern, it is important to keep its risks in perspective and stay up-to-date on current research and recommendations in order to provide our patients with the most accurate advice."
  • Use personal protective equipment during endoscopy as the GI tract may be a potential route of coronavirus infection.
  • COVID-19 patients may complain of gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea.
  • Laboratory findings described in COVID-19 patients include liver function test abnormalities.

Ungaro, R.C., Sullivan, T., Colombel, J.F., Patel, G. What Should Gastroenterologists and Patients Know About COVID-19? Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2020. Epub ahead of print.

Contact for media: Rachel Shubert,, 301-272-1603

About the AGA Institute

The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to more than 16,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization.

About Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology

The mission of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology is to provide readers with a broad spectrum of themes in clinical gastroenterology and hepatology. This monthly peer-reviewed journal includes original articles as well as scholarly reviews, with the goal that all articles published will be immediately relevant to the practice of gastroenterology and hepatology. For more information, visit AGA is now on

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