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Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol ; 2020 May 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-327107


BACKGROUND & AIMS: Practices dramatically reduced endoscopy services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because practices now are considering reintroduction of elective endoscopy, we conducted a survey of North American practices to identify reactivation barriers and strategies. METHODS: We designed and electronically distributed a web-based survey to North American gastroenterologists consisting of 7 domains: institutional demographics, impact of COVID-19 on endoscopy practice, elective endoscopy resumption plans, anesthesia modifications, personal protective equipment policies, fellowship training, and telemedicine use. Responses were stratified by practice type: ambulatory surgery center (ASC) or hospital-based. RESULTS: In total, 123 practices (55% ASC-based and 45% hospital-based) responded. At the pandemic's peak (as reported by the respondents), practices saw a 90% decrease in endoscopy volume, with most centers planning to resume elective endoscopy a median of 55 days after initial restrictions. Declining community prevalence of COVID-19, personal protective equipment availability, and preprocedure severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) testing availability were ranked as the 3 primary factors influencing reactivation timing. ASC-based practices were more likely to identify preprocedure testing availability as a major factor limiting elective endoscopy resumption (P = .001). Preprocedure SARS-CoV-2 testing was planned by only 49.2% of practices overall; when testing is performed and negative, 52.9% of practices will continue to use N95 masks. CONCLUSIONS: This survey highlights barriers and variable strategies for reactivation of elective endoscopy services after the COVID-19 pandemic. Our results suggest that more widespread access to preprocedure SARS-CoV-2 tests with superior performance characteristics is needed to increase provider and patient comfort in proceeding with elective endoscopy.

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol ; 18(8): 1673-1681, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-102150


The COVID-19 pandemic seemingly is peaking now in New York City and has triggered significant changes to the standard management of gastrointestinal diseases. Priorities such as minimizing viral transmission, preserving personal protective equipment, and freeing hospital beds have driven unconventional approaches to managing gastroenterology (GI) patients. Conversion of endoscopy units to COVID units and redeployment of GI fellows and faculty has profoundly changed the profile of most GI services. Meanwhile, consult and procedural volumes have been reduced drastically. In this review, we share our collective experiences regarding how we have changed our practice of medicine in response to the COVID surge. Although we review our management of specific consults and conditions, the overarching theme focuses primarily on noninvasive measures and maximizing medical therapies. Endoscopic procedures have been reserved for those timely interventions that are most likely to be therapeutic. The role of multidisciplinary discussion, although always important, now has become critical. The support of our faculty and trainees remains essential. Local leadership can encourage well-being by frequent team check-ins and by fostering trainee development through remote learning. Advancing a clear vision and a transparent process for how to organize and triage care in the recovery phase will allow for a smooth transition to our new normal.

Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Disease Management , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Gastroenterology/methods , Gastroenterology/organization & administration , Infection Control/methods , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Humans , New York City/epidemiology , Pandemics