image of Case Report: Paralytic Ileus: A Potential Extrapulmonary Manifestation of Severe COVID-19
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


The COVID-19 pandemic has recently spread worldwide, presenting primarily in the form of pneumonia or other respiratory disease. In addition, gastrointestinal manifestations have increasingly been reported as one of the extrapulmonary features of the virus. We report two cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection complicated by paralytic ileus. The first patient was a 33-year-old man who was hospitalized with severe COVID-19 pneumonia requiring ventilator support and intensive care. He developed large bowel dilatation and perforation of the mid-transverse colon, and underwent laparotomy and colonic resection. Histopathology of the resected bowel specimen showed acute inflammation, necrosis, and hemorrhage, supporting a role for COVID-19–induced micro-thrombosis leading to perforation. The second patient was a 33-year-old man who had severe COVID-19 pneumonia, renal failure, and acute pancreatitis. His hospital course was complicated with paralytic ileus, and he improved with conservative management. Both cases were observed to have elevated liver transaminases, which is consistent with other studies. Several authors have postulated that the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptors, the host receptors for COVID-19, that are present on enterocytes in both the small and large bowel might mediate viral entry and resultant inflammation. This is a potential mechanism of paralytic ileus in cases of severe COVID-19 infection. Recognizing paralytic ileus as a possible complication necessitates timely diagnosis and management.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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  • Received : 22 Jul 2020
  • Accepted : 23 Aug 2020
  • Published online : 31 Aug 2020
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