Repositioning Gastroenterology Services during COVID-19 Pandemic

Idris Muhammad Yakubu, Ali I. Elgaderi, Charles Andrews, Christophe Persad, Eoghan Burke, Joshua Farley, Khaled S. I. Shaban, Lucy Kelly, Mahmood E. Elkaramany, Megan E. Penrose, Muhammad K. Ansari, Osama Idris, Pamela Ntenezi, Syed Tipu Naqvi, Sylvia C. Mibey



In COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals become overwhelmed with acute admissions leading to the suspension of outpatient clinics including gastroenterology and endoscopic services. Similarly available resources are channeled to combat the scourge. These diversions of resources coupled with lockdowns and fear of getting infected prevent patients from accessing routine and life-saving gastroenterology services leading to increased gastrointestinal-related morbidity and mortality in at-risk populations. Often, there are delays in the diagnosis and early treatment of gastrointestinal cancers, and high risks of death from gastrointestinal bleeding.


This review discusses COVID-19 risk factors and ways and means of ensuring safe essential gastroenterology services in the setting of COVID-19 pandemic based on available evidence. Telemedicine avoids physical contacts, maximizes safety by reducing the risk of infection to both clinicians and patients, and is conducive to a lockdown, quarantine, or self-isolation environment of COVID-19. It can be used to triage critical cases requiring life-saving endoscopic procedures. The review also explores measures at de-risking endoscopies being high-risk aerosol generating procedures. The emerging technology of non-contact endoscopy in the form of robotic endoscopy raises hope in this direction.


Gastroenterology; Endoscopy; Covid-19

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