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Dig Dis Sci ; 2020 Sep 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-758086


BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has significantly impacted the practice of endoscopy, but characteristics of COVID patients undergoing endoscopy have not been adequately described. AIMS: To compare findings, clinical outcomes, and patient characteristics of endoscopies performed during the pandemic in patients with and without COVID-19. METHODS: This was a retrospective multicenter study of adult endoscopies at six academic hospitals in New York between March 16 and April 30, 2020. Patient and procedure characteristics including age, sex, indication, findings, interventions, and outcomes were compared in patients testing positive, negative, or untested for COVID-19. RESULTS: Six hundred and five endoscopies were performed on 545 patients during the study period. There were 84 (13.9%), 255 (42.2%), and 266 (44.0%) procedures on COVID-positive, negative, and untested patients, respectively. COVID patients were more likely to undergo endoscopy for gastrointestinal bleeding or gastrostomy tube placement, and COVID patients with gastrointestinal bleeding more often required hemostatic interventions on multivariable logistic regression. COVID patients had increased length of stay, intensive care unit admission, and intubation rate. Twenty-seven of 521 patients (5.2%) with no or negative COVID testing prior to endoscopy later tested positive, a median of 13.5 days post-procedure. CONCLUSIONS: Endoscopies in COVID patients were more likely to require interventions, due either to more severe illness or a higher threshold to perform endoscopy. A significant number of patients endoscoped without testing were subsequently found to be COVID-positive. Gastroenterologists in areas affected by the pandemic must adapt to changing patterns of endoscopy practice and ensure pre-endoscopy COVID testing.

JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 6(3): e19354, 2020 07 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-637869


BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a novel viral illness that has rapidly spread worldwide. While the disease primarily presents as a respiratory illness, gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea have been reported in up to one-third of confirmed cases, and patients may have mild symptoms that do not prompt them to seek medical attention. Internet-based infodemiology offers an approach to studying symptoms at a population level, even in individuals who do not seek medical care. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to determine if a correlation exists between internet searches for gastrointestinal symptoms and the confirmed case count of COVID-19 in the United States. METHODS: The search terms chosen for analysis in this study included common gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Furthermore, the search terms fever and cough were used as positive controls, and constipation was used as a negative control. Daily query shares for the selected symptoms were obtained from Google Trends between October 1, 2019 and June 15, 2020 for all US states. These shares were divided into two time periods: pre-COVID-19 (prior to March 1) and post-COVID-19 (March 1-June 15). Confirmed COVID-19 case numbers were obtained from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering data repository. Moving averages of the daily query shares (normalized to baseline pre-COVID-19) were then analyzed against the confirmed disease case count and daily new cases to establish a temporal relationship. RESULTS: The relative search query shares of many symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and constipation, remained near or below baseline throughout the time period studied; however, there were notable increases in searches for the positive control symptoms of fever and cough as well as for diarrhea. These increases in daily search queries for fever, cough, and diarrhea preceded the rapid rise in number of cases by approximately 10 to 14 days. The search volumes for these terms began declining after mid-March despite the continued rises in cumulative cases and daily new case counts. CONCLUSIONS: Google searches for symptoms may precede the actual rises in cases and hospitalizations during pandemics. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, this study demonstrates that internet search queries for fever, cough, and diarrhea increased prior to the increased confirmed case count by available testing during the early weeks of the pandemic in the United States. While the search volumes eventually decreased significantly as the number of cases continued to rise, internet query search data may still be a useful tool at a population level to identify areas of active disease transmission at the cusp of new outbreaks.

Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Gastrointestinal Diseases/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Public Health Surveillance/methods , Search Engine/statistics & numerical data , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , United States/epidemiology
World J Gastroenterol ; 26(14): 1546-1553, 2020 Apr 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-122463


The current pandemic due to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 has caused an extreme burden for health care systems globally, and the number of cases is expected to continue to increase, at least in the immediate future. The virus is estimated to have infected more than 1.5 million individuals. The available reports suggest that gastrointestinal (GI) involvement in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is common and in some cases the GI symptoms may precede the respiratory symptoms. In addition to direct effects of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, the infected patients remain at risk for the complications commonly managed by gastroenterology and hepatology consultants. The most commonly reported GI manifestation of COVID-19 is diarrhea, which is reported in a third to up to more than half of the patients. Mild to moderate elevation of the liver enzymes are also common, although no case of acute liver failure has been reported so far. Many of the medications used for treatment of COVID-19 can also be associated with GI symptoms or liver injury and can be included in the differential diagnosis in these patients. Although the diagnosis of the infection is currently based on RNA analysis in respiratory samples, the available literature on fecal shedding of this virus suggests that fecal RNA testing might prove to be a useful diagnostic test. It is reasonable to delay all non-urgent endoscopic procedures during the peak of the pandemic and use additional protective equipment such as N95 respirators during endoscopy while most patients can be considered high risk for having been exposed to the virus.

Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Gastrointestinal Diseases/etiology , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Animals , Consultants , Diarrhea/etiology , Humans , Pandemics