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Minerva Surgery 2021 Jun 23

DOI: 10.23736/S2724-5691.21.08897-3

Copyright © 2021 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

lingua: Inglese

The Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on a tertiary referral proctology center: no one should be left behind

Iacopo GIANI 1, Gaetano GALLO 2, Ugo GROSSI 3 , Cinzia TANDA 1, Chiara LINARI 1, Claudio ELBETTI 1, Resumption of Proctology Algorithm Working Group 

1 SOSD Proctologia USL Toscana Centro, Florence, Italy; 2 Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Catanzaro, Catanzaro, Italy; 3 IV Surgery Unit, Regional Hospital Treviso, DISCOG, University of Padua, Padua, Italy



BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has disrupted healthcare delivery. We aimed to describe a novel strategy to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on a tertiary referral proctology center during the first wave of infection in Italy.
METHODS: All patients booked appointments at the Proctology Unit between March 9th and May 4th 2020 were identified. Patients booked for a first visit underwent a structured remote consultation. Patients with perianal or sacrococcygeal abscesses, major anorectal bleeding, incoercible anal pain and red flags for malignancy were labelled as ‘non-deferrable’. A flowchart was designed to comply with adequate assistance of proctologic patients. Demographics, clinical data and outcomes of in-office procedures were collected.
RESULTS: On a total of 548 booked visits, 198 (36.1%) were cancelled before remote consultation. Of the remaining 350, 112 (32.0%) attended a follow-up visit. Among 238 (68.0%) patients undergoing remote consultation, 88 (25.1%) were deemed ‘deferrable’ and 148 (42.3%) ‘nondeferrable’. 2 (0.6%) were hospitalized for COVID-19 while waiting for an outpatient visit. 25/88 (28.4%) deferrable patients cancelled their appointment as felt no longer necessary. A total of 45/148 (30.4%) non deferrable patients (mean age, 46 years; 31% females) underwent in-office procedures, most often related to anal abscess and/or fistula (48.9%). Final diagnosis of malignancy occurred in 4 cases. A 55% increase in the number of in-office procedures was noted compared to the previous year. None of the attending patients nor staff members resulted COVID-19 positive during the study period.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite the uncertainties accompanying the use of remote consultations in proctology, the results of this study may inform the development of strategies for restructuring activities in response to future emergencies of this magnitude.


KEY WORDS: Proctology; Colorectal surgery; COVID-19

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