Plans to Reactivate Gastroenterology Practices Following the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Survey of North American Centers

North American Alliance for the Study of Digestive Manifestations of COVID-19

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Practices dramatically reduced endoscopy services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because practices now are considering reintroduction of elective endoscopy, we conducted a survey of North American practices to identify reactivation barriers and strategies. Methods: We designed and electronically distributed a web-based survey to North American gastroenterologists consisting of 7 domains: institutional demographics, impact of COVID-19 on endoscopy practice, elective endoscopy resumption plans, anesthesia modifications, personal protective equipment policies, fellowship training, and telemedicine use. Responses were stratified by practice type: ambulatory surgery center (ASC) or hospital-based. Results: In total, 123 practices (55% ASC-based and 45% hospital-based) responded. At the pandemic's peak (as reported by the respondents), practices saw a 90% decrease in endoscopy volume, with most centers planning to resume elective endoscopy a median of 55 days after initial restrictions. Declining community prevalence of COVID-19, personal protective equipment availability, and preprocedure severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) testing availability were ranked as the 3 primary factors influencing reactivation timing. ASC-based practices were more likely to identify preprocedure testing availability as a major factor limiting elective endoscopy resumption (P =.001). Preprocedure SARS-CoV-2 testing was planned by only 49.2% of practices overall; when testing is performed and negative, 52.9% of practices will continue to use N95 masks. Conclusions: This survey highlights barriers and variable strategies for reactivation of elective endoscopy services after the COVID-19 pandemic. Our results suggest that more widespread access to preprocedure SARS-CoV-2 tests with superior performance characteristics is needed to increase provider and patient comfort in proceeding with elective endoscopy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2287-2294.e1
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Endoscopy Operations
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Safety


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