SMH – St. Michael’s Hospital Medical Services Organization
SMH-20-034 – Mortality among patients with upper gastrointestinal bleeding during the COVID-19 Pandemic
We led a study examining upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB) in the Toronto area during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. UGIB is a life threatening disorder requiring endoscopic procedures either for diagnosis or treatment. As these procedures were scaled back in Ontario during the pandemic, we wondered whether patients who had UGIB during the pandemic had worse clinical outcomes compared to patients who had UGIB prior to the pandemic. We found that, though patients during the pandemic were less likely to undergo endoscopy, there were no differences in death rates or hospital length-of stay. Our results were presented at the American College of Gastroenterology Annual Meeting 2021 (October 2021, Las Vegas, United States) and published in abstract form in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. The full length manuscript is currently being reviewed at The Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (decision pending). Our study provides important data regarding the safety of pandemic-related changes to endoscopy services with respect to UGIB. It suggests that current and future strategies which scaled back endoscopy resources due to overall strain on the healthcare system may not necessarily lead to adverse outcomes for UGIB patients. Our findings can be applied during pandemic planning moving forward, combined with ongoing outcome monitoring for patients with UGIB.
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