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Source:

Papanikolaou IS, et al. Abstract OP20. Presented at: ESGE Days (virtual), Mar. 25-17, 2020.

Disclosures: Papanikolaou reports receiving honoraria from Boston Scientific and a travel grant from Takeda.
March 25, 2021
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COVID-19 transmission during endoscopy unlikely in lockdown setting

Source:

Papanikolaou IS, et al. Abstract OP20. Presented at: ESGE Days (virtual), Mar. 25-17, 2020.

Disclosures: Papanikolaou reports receiving honoraria from Boston Scientific and a travel grant from Takeda.
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The transmission of COVID-19 in endoscopy units is unlikely in settings where cases were reduced and proper use of PPE was maintained, according to research presented at ESGE Days.

Ioannis S. Papanikolaou, MD, PhD, from the hepatogastroenterology unit at Attikon General Hospital in Greece, said the COVID-19 pandemic has had significant impact on the practice of endoscopy.

Infographic on COVID-19 risk in endoscopy.
The transmission of COVID-19 in endoscopy units is unlikely, according to study results. Source: Papanikolaou IS, et al. Abstract OP20. Presented at: ESGE Days (virtual), Mar. 25-17, 2020.

“ESGE has recommended reduction of non-emergency endoscopies, taking personal protective measures and post-endoscopy calls to patients to check their COVID-19 status,” Papanikolaou said in his presentation. “Our study aims to assess the impact of COVID-19 on endoscopy during the first European lockdown, that is March to May 2020.”

Researchers collected data from patients who underwent endoscopy from March to May 2020, including demographic data and patient COVID-19 status before and after endoscopy. They also collected information on the implementation of personal protective measures, possible infection among staff and number and type of weekly endoscopies at each center included in the study.

Over the course of the study period, researchers identified 1,267 endoscopies that were performed in 1,222 patients at nine centers across six countries. The most common procedures were upper GI endoscopy (46%), colonoscopy or rectosigmoidoscopies (35%), ERCP (14%) and endoscopic ultrasound (4%).

Patients received a phone call 7 to 14 days after endoscopy to assess infection status.

Among 1,135 patients who were either low-risk or tested negative for COVID-19 before endoscopy, 254 underwent post-endoscopy COVID-19 testing. In those patients, eight tested positive for COVID-19 (0.6% of the total). Six of the patients with COVID-19 underwent EGD, one underwent colonoscopy and one underwent EUS.

Researchers determined that transmission of the virus in four of the patients was “obviously irrelevant” to endoscopy. In the other four, the route of transmission was not clear.

Papanikolaou and colleagues also included data from 163 personnel within an endoscopy unit. Among these individuals, five tested positive for COVID-19 during the study period (3%). Researchers believe that the infection was related to the work environment for four of the cases (2% of the total).

“COVID-19 transmission in endoscopy is unlikely to occur, provided that endoscopies are reduced to emergency cases and personal protective measures are implemented and followed,” Papanikolaou concluded. “With the emergence of various vaccines, it seems endoscopists will have a new force in them in order to fight COVID-19.”