Coronavirus damages not only the lungs, but the kidneys, liver, heart, brain and nervous system, skin and gastrointestinal tract, doctors said Friday in a review of reports about Covid-19 patients.
The team at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City — one of the hospitals flooded with patients in the spring — went through their own experiences and collected reports from other medical teams around the world.
Their comprehensive picture shows the coronavirus attacks virtually every major system in the human body, directly damaging organs and causing the blood to clot, the heart to lose its healthy rhythm, the kidneys to shed blood and protein and the skin to erupt in rashes. It causes headaches, dizziness, muscle aches, stomach pain and other symptoms along with classic respiratory symptoms like coughing and fever.
“Physicians need to think of COVID-19 as a multisystem disease,” said Dr. Aakriti Gupta, a cardiology fellow at Columbia who worked on the review, in a statement. “There’s a lot of news about clotting but it’s also important to understand that a substantial proportion of these patients suffer kidney, heart, and brain damage, and physicians need to treat those conditions along with the respiratory disease.”