Endoscopy in a COVID-19 Referral National University Hospital: A Single-center Experience and Recommendations
Rationale. COVID-19 pandemic disease, can be transmitted during gastrointestinal procedures, via aerosolized droplets, and via fecal shedding. Both international and local endoscopy societies have issued strategies to alleviate the risk to endoscopy personnel. However, several barriers against the implementation of these recommendations exist thus individual center’s policies are employed whenever applicable.
Objectives. This narrative study aims to describe the current experience and set-up in the endoscopy unit of a COVID referral center, discuss the stratification of patients for endoscopy, the operational management of the personnel and endoscopy unit in line with the adapted local and international guidelines and offer endoscopists a quick reference guide to adapt endoscopy practice during the pandemic in a resource-limited setting.
Methodology. This paper reviews and consolidates current endoscopy guidelines and describes the single-center experience of Philippine General Hospital.
Results. In resource-limited settings, with uncertainties of prolonged COVID-19 impact to healthcare, modification of practice, adherence to strategies and recommendations, empowerment of workforce, establishing the sustainability of resources, training, and service to patients, are essential components to combat current dilemma brought about by this pandemic.
Conclusion. Integration of current local and international guidelines encompass all aspects of endoscopy practice during the pandemic. The recommendations cited are aimed to guide other resource-limited endoscopy units for potential changes and guidance in the overall practice.