National Survey Regarding the Timing of Endoscopic Procedures during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, several questions have arisen about which endoscopic procedures (EPs) must be performed and which ones can be postponed. The aim of this study was to conduct a nationwide survey regarding the appropriate timing of EPs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: This prospective study was performed through a nationwide electronic survey. The survey consisted of 15 questions divided into three sections. The first evaluated the agreement for EPs classified as
... EPs classified as "time sensitive" and "not time sensitive". Two other sections assessed "high-priority" and "low-priority" scenarios. Agreement was considered when >75% of respondents answered a question in the same direction. Results: The response rate was 27.2% (214/784). Among the respondents, agreement for the need to perform EP in <72 hours was only reached for variceal bleeding (93.4%). Dysphagia with alarm symptoms was the scenario in which the highest percentage of physicians (95.9%) agreed that an EP needed to be performed within a month. Less than 30% of endoscopists would perform an EP within the first 72 hours for patients with mild cholangitis, non-variceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding without hemodynamic instability, or severe anaemia without overt bleeding. In time-sensitive clinical scenarios suggestive of benign disease, none of the scenarios reached agreement in any sense. Among the time-sensitive clinical scenarios suggestive of malignancy, >90% of the surveyed respondents considered that EP could not be postponed for >8 weeks. Conclusions: There was no consensus among endoscopists about the timing of EPs in patients with pathologies considered time sensitive or in those with high-priority pathologies. Agreement was only reached in five (17%) of the evaluated clinical scenarios.