Endoscopy during the peak of COVID-19 pandemic: impact on activity and financial implications for a tertiary referral center in London

Authors Alberto Murino, Rocio Chacchi Cahuin, Leonardo Franzoni, Nikolaos Lazaridis, Alexandros Skamnelos, Jonathan Potts, Lorenzo Fuccio, Charles D. Murray, Douglas Thorburn, Edward J. Despott.


Background COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global medical emergency. National and international gastrointestinal societies recommended that any endoscopic activity during the lockdown phase of the pandemic should be limited to emergency or non-deferrable procedures only. We assessed the financial implications and impact on endoscopy activity of the lockdown phase in a tertiary referral endoscopy unit.

Methods The number of endoscopy procedures canceled and performed in our endoscopy unit during our “delay phase” (16-22/03/2020) and “lockdown phase” (23/03-29/05/2020) was reviewed and compared with endoscopy activity conducted during the same period in 2019. The financial impact was subsequently analyzed.

Results Between 16/03/2020 and 29/05/2020, 683 procedures were canceled and 365 nondeferrable procedures were performed. In contrast, in 2019, 3437 procedures were performed over the same timeframe, resulting in a revenue contraction of approximately €2,062,857. We estimated that the number of lists required to recuperate the canceled endoscopic activity, ranges from 103-155, depending on the level of personal protective equipment required and mitigating policy relating to COVID-19.

Conclusion Our results highlight that COVID-19 pandemic had a substantial negative impact on our endoscopy activity and on the revenue generated by our endoscopy unit.

Keywords COVID-19 pandemic, financial implications, endoscopy impact, endoscopic activity, endoscopy department

Ann Gastroenterol 2021; 34 (6): 829-835

Original Articles