Published online Oct 16, 2020. doi: 10.4253/wjge.v12.i10.401
Peer-review started: July 26, 2020
First decision: August 9, 2020
Revised: August 11, 2020
Accepted: October 5, 2020
Article in press: October 5, 2020
Published online: October 16, 2020
The impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is widespread throughout the world, causing serious damage to healthcare systems. Therefore, we examined the significance of endoscopy based on the recommendation of Asian-Pacific Society for Digestive Endoscopy and Japan Gastroenterological Endoscopy Society during the COVID-19 pandemic by evaluating the details of gastrointestinal endoscopy performed during the declaration of emergency in Japan. We have continued performing gastrointestinal endoscopy at an outpatient clinic that specialized in endoscopic medical care in Tokyo, Japan. During the emergency declaration period, 544 patients underwent gastrointestinal endoscopy. As a control, we investigated 1327 patients who underwent gastrointestinal endoscopy during the same period in 2019. Although the total number of endoscopies during the emergency declaration was halved, the advanced cancer detection rate during the emergency declaration was significantly higher than that in 2019 (P = 0.04). Additionally, no COVID-19 infection was observed in healthcare workers, staff, or patients during this period. It is possible that an outpatient endoscopy units can contribute to the detection of advanced cancer, while the hospital in charge for patients with COVID-19 infection could not perform endoscopy during the declaration of emergency.
Core Tip: It is possible that an outpatient endoscopy units can contribute to the detection of advanced cancer, while the hospital in charge for patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection could not perform endoscopy during the declaration of emergency. Gastrointestinal endoscopy may be one of the safety nets in the COVID-19 pandemic to not delay the diagnosis of advanced, life-threatening cancers.