Published online Nov 21, 2020. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v26.i43.6880
Peer-review started: October 14, 2020
First decision: November 3, 2020
Revised: November 3, 2020
Accepted: November 9, 2020
Article in press: November 9, 2020
Published online: November 21, 2020
An outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has hit the world and disturbed the whole healthcare system, including endoscopic practices which are a very risky procedures in terms of exposure to infection.
Smooth resumption of routine endoscopic service has to be guaranteed as well as decreasing the burden of exposing patients and endoscopy staff to infection during endoscopic procedures. Many strategies have to be implemented in endoscopy units, however, these strategies face many barriers as shortage of personal protective equipment, working staff and post procedure tracing of infection and follow-up of patients.
This survey study was designed to evaluate the feasibility and the difficulty of resumption of routine endoscopic service in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.
We conducted a survey study that included 20 questions to be answered by the head of endoscopy units in 113 units from all over Egypt.
One hundred and thirteen centers participated in the study from all over Egypt. Due to halting the routine endoscopic services during the pandemic, the waiting lists were doubled in most of the centers. Third of the centers experienced significant shortage of endoscopy staff. The lack of dedicated endoscopy rooms for infected patients and the staff shortage were the main barriers to resume routine services smoothly.
We recommend increasing working hours and dividing endoscopy staff into teams to overcome the shortage of endoscopy staff. Also, follow up of patients for two weeks after endoscopic procedures to detect any possible transmission of infection in endoscopy centers as this strategy may help in tracing the source of nosocomial transmission.
For smooth resumption of endoscopic service between two waves of the current pandemic, several strategies have to be applied in a uniform manner in all endoscopy units. Our study showed how different centers acted differently during this pandemic in terms of their plan to safely getting routine endoscopy service on track. Future studies should propose modalities to guarantee uniform application of determined strategies that overcome the current barriers.