Fernandez M, Cristina Segovia M, Dijkstra G, Herlenius G, Testro A, Sharkey L, Braun F, Rumbo C, Lacaille F, Friend P, Jafri S, Vilca Melendez H, Horslen S, Schiano T, Zanfi C, Solar H, Ramisch D, Mazariegos G, and Gondolesi G. The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in intestinal rehabilitation and transplant patients, initial results of an international survey. Transplantation 2021; 105(7 SUPPL 1):S11-S12.
Introduction: On January 30, 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the 2019-CoV outbreak in China as a global public health emergency and subsequently, a pandemic on March 11th. It was considered that intestinal failure and intestinal transplant patients might have a higher risk of severe complications from the COVID-19 disease, multidisciplinary intestinal failure teams had to adapt their clinical approaches in order to keep this vulnerable group of patients as safe as possible during the pandemic; but data was lacking. Therefore, in order to improve our knowledge, we designed a voluntary, international survey aiming to address the impact of the COVID-19 disease in intestinal failure and transplant patients worldwide.
Patient and Methods: A retrospective, observational, multicenter survey was sent to all centers registered at the Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplant Association (IRTA). The survey contained three modules: the 1st one consisted of 14 questions about the hospital's activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2nd one, contained 43 questions, was about intestinal failure patient management and outcome and the 3rd one (52 questions) focused on intestinal transplant patients. We used the Google Form platform. We aim to present the preliminary results of the first module. Statistical analysis was performed with the IBM SPSS Statistic version 25.0® program.
Results: 13/42 (41%) centers responded; including centers from France, Netherlands, Italy, United States, UK, Sweden, Germany and Argentina. Only 2 centers reported moratorium on intestinal (IT) or multivisceral transplant (MVT), with a mean of 3 months (±4) [Table 1]. Since the pandemic started, 2 institutions reported 4 patients with intestinal rehabilitation or on TPN diagnosed with COVID-19 while 7 centers hospitals claimed to have had 9 patients post-IT/MTV affected by the disease. While 7 centers had their routine follow up and 'protocol biopsies' in the post-IT/MTV affected, none reported higher rates of rejection or complications. At the same time, 8 centers (77%) were affected by a mean of 15% decrease in referrals for new evaluations of intestinal failure or transplantation (compared to 2019) [Figure 1]. All centers adapted to utilizing telemedicine to follow up on IT/MVT patients.
Conclusions: Many aspects of healthcare have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey showed that the number of affected patients has been lower than expected, the reduced number of centers required transient moratorium of their activity, but a secondary observation was that despite the availability of telemedicine, and probably related to the lockdown, there has been a significant reduction in the referrals for evaluation of intestinal failure and transplant patients, that may have the deleterious effect of the delay of treatment in health care system.
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