GI societies make joint recommendations for endoscopic procedures during COVID-19 

The American College of Gastroenterology, American Gastroenterological Association, American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy provided guidance around how gastroenterologists should perform procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What you should know:

1. The societies recommend all elective procedures be delayed. Practices should follow up with patients to reschedule their procedures once the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided. 

Elective procedures that should be delayed include: 

  • Screening and surveillance colonoscopy in asymptomatic patients
  • Screening and surveillance for upper gastrointestinal diseases in asymptomatic patients
  • Patients with diseases states where a procedure will not change clinical management imminently 
  • All motility procedures 

Physicians should also take into account individual patient circumstances for patients needing interval endoscopy for the obliteration of esophageal varices post-acute bleeding and delay when appropriate.

2. The societies recommend procedures should be performed on patients with the following: 

  • Upper and lower GI bleeding
  • Suspected GI bleeding that contributes to symptoms
  • Dysphagia that impacts oral intake
  • Cholangitis or impending cholangitis 
  • Symptomatic pancreaticobiliary disease
  • Palliation of a GI obstruction
  • A time-sensitive diagnosis 
  • Where a procedure will change clinical management urgently 

3. During the pandemic, gastroenterologists should delay most colonoscopy procedures at least four to six weeks.

Read the entire statement as well as answers to frequently asked questions here.  

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