COVID-19 Resource Center
COVID-19 Resource Center
Issue: August 2020
Source/Disclosures
Disclosures: Sharma reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.

June 26, 2020
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COVID-19 substantially reduces endoscopy procedures worldwide

Issue: August 2020
Source/Disclosures
Disclosures: Sharma reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.

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New data revealed a substantial decrease in endoscopy procedures around the world of more than 80% during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID-19 has had a significant impact on procedure volumes,” Prateek Sharma, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, told Healio Gastroenterology. “The use of appropriate [personal protective equipment (PPE)] is key in keeping infection rates low in healthcare providers. Significant back logs should be anticipated.”

There was a substantial decrease in endoscopy procedures around the world of more than 80% during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There was a substantial decrease in endoscopy procedures around the world of more than 80% during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sharma and colleagues sent a web-based survey developed by the World Endoscopy Organization on April 23, 2020 and collected responses through May 12, 2020. Two hundred fifty-two endoscopy units comprising 2,810 endoscopists, 3,024 endoscopy nurses and 1,334 endoscopy technicians from 55 countries across six continents, responded to the survey. The 16 survey questions asked about the endoscopy units’ baseline volumes, effect on procedure numbers during the COVID-19 peak, use of PPE and if endoscopy personnel contracted the infection. Survey results showed responding units performed a combined 2,069,447 endoscopic procedures in a year at baseline.

Prateek Sharma, MD
Prateek Sharma

Investigators analyzed responses with descriptive statistics. They used one-way ANOVA for continuous and chi-square for categorical variables to compare data across continents and tertiles of pre-COVID-19 volume.

Sharma said COVID-19 hugely affected endoscopies around the world, reporting an 87% reduction in endoscopy procedure volumes around the world based on the survey responses.

Specifically, survey results indicate an 82% decrease in upper endoscopy procedures and an 85% decrease in lower endoscopy procedures.

Further, Sharma and colleagues reported 34 (13.5%) endoscopy units documented SARS-CoV-2 positive cases among endoscopy personnel; 48.6% from Europe and 7.9% of all positive cases required hospitalization.

“COVID infection rate in endoscopy health personnel using appropriate PPE was low,” Sharma said.

“[The next step is to] evaluate how units will open up, how much testing prior to procedures is possible, and what are the factors impacting reopening of unit,” he said.