The global impact of COVID-19 on gastrointestinal endoscopy units: An international survey of endoscopists

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Background & study aims: Corona virus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic has markedly impacted routine medical services including gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy. We aim to report the real-life performance in high volume GI endoscopy units during the pandemic.
Patients and methods: A web-based survey covering all aspects of daily performance in GI endoscopy units was sent to endoscopy units worldwide. Responses were collected and data were analyzed to reveal the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on endoscopy practice.
Results: Participants from 48 countries (n = 163) responded to the survey with response rate of 67.35%. The majority (85%) decreased procedure volume by over 50%, and four endoscopy units (2.45%) completely stopped. The top three indications for procedures included upper GI bleeding (89.6%), lower GI bleeding (65.6%) and cholangitis (62.6%). The majority (93.9%) triaged patients for COVID-19 prior to procedure. N95 masks were used in (57.1%), isolation gowns in (74.2%) and head covers in (78.5%). Most centers (65%) did not extend use of N95 masks, however 50.9% of centers reused N95 masks. Almost all (91.4%) centers used standard endoscopic decontamination and most (69%) had no negative pressure rooms. Forty-two centers (25.8%) reported positive cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection among patients and 50 (30.7%) centers reported positive cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection among their healthcare workers.
Conclusions: Most GI endoscopy centers had a significant reduction in their volume and most procedures performed were urgent. Most centers used the recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) by GI societies however there is still a possibility of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection in GI endoscopy units.


Arab Journal of Gastroenterology