Background: Liver injuries in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been reported, however, the clinical role played by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is obscure.
Methods: In this multicenter, retrospective study, the parameters of liver function tests in COVID-19 inpatients were compared between various timepoints referred to SARS-CoV-2 shedding, and 3 to 7 days before first detection of viral shedding was regarded as reference baseline.
Results: Totally, 70 COVID-19 inpatients were enrolled. Twenty-two (31.4%) cases had self-medications history after illness. At baseline, 10 (14.3%), 7 (10%), 9 (12.9%), 2 (2.9%), 15 (21.4%), and 4 (5.7%) patients already had abnormal rates of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), albumin, and total bilirubin (TBIL), respectively. ALT and AST abnormal rates and levels did not show any significantly dynamic change during the full period of viral shedding (all P > 0.05). GGT abnormal rate (P = 0.008) and level (P = 0.033) significantly increased on day 10 of viral shedding. Meanwhile, no simultaneously significant increases of ALP abnormal rates and levels were observed. TBIL abnormal rates and levels significantly increased on day 1 and 5 of viral shedding (all P < 0.05). Albumin abnormal decrease rates increased and levels decreased consistently from baseline to SARS-CoV-2 clearance day (all P < 0.05). Thirteen (18.6%) patients had chronic liver diseases, two of them died. The ALT and AST abnormal rates and levels did not increase in patients with chronic liver diseases during SARS-CoV-2 shedding.
Conclusions: The SARS-CoV-2 does not directly lead to elevations of ALT and AST, but may result in elevations of GGT and TBIL, the albumin decreased extraordinarily even SARS-CoV-2 shedding discontinued.