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Health-code-based triage versus universal COVID-19 PCR testing before endoscopy in a low incidence area: a real-world experience
  1. Zhihui Duan1,
  2. Dengxiang Liu2,
  3. Shengyun Zhou1,
  4. Hui Li3,
  5. Xiaofang Sun1,
  6. Chunqian Zhao1,
  7. Qiong Duan4,
  8. Liwei Li5,
  9. Xiaochong Zhang6,
  10. Lingxuan Jin7
  1. 1 Endoscopy Center, Xingtai People's Hospital, Xingtai, Hebei, China
  2. 2 Institute of Cancer Control, Xingtai People's Hospital, Xingtai, Hebei, China
  3. 3 Hepatobiliary Surgery, Xingtai People's Hospital, Xingtai, Hebei, China
  4. 4 Gastroenterology, Xingtai People's Hospital, Xingtai, Hebei, China
  5. 5 Clinical Laboratory, Xingtai People's Hospital, Xingtai, Hebei, China
  6. 6 Key Laboratory of Cancer Prevention and Treatment, Xingtai People's Hospital, Xingtai, Hebei, China
  7. 7 Radiology, Xingtai People's Hospital, Xingtai, Hebei, China
  1. Correspondence to Zhihui Duan, Endoscopy Center, Xingtai People's Hospital, Xingtai, Hebei, China; 15131988129{at}

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Guidelines recently recommended against routine pre-endoscopy testing for SARS-CoV-2. We retrospectively collected data from 1 January 2021 to 31 July 2022 from our endoscopy centre located in a low incidence area. In total, 46 111 endoscopies were performed based on the health-code-based triage strategy combined with two other strategies—no reverse-transcription (RT)-PCR testing before endoscopy (n=27 193) and mandatory RT-PCR testing within 1–7 days before endoscopy (n=18 918). No staff or patients were infected with SARS-CoV-2 during the study period. Benefits of pre-endoscopy RT-PCR were minor when there were no COVID-19 positive cases in the local area; we conclude that health-code-based triage together with mandatory wearing of surgical masks by staff may be sufficient in low incidence areas.

In more detail

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect all healthcare activities, its long-term impact on gastroenterological procedure volumes had been shown in many countries.1 2 A significant backlog of procedures has remained.1 2 As upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopies carry a potentially high risk of respiratory aerosols, they should be performed wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).3

In 2020, the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) suggested a pretesting strategy for most …

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  • Contributors Concept and design: ZD and DL. Acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data: ZD, SZ, HL, XS, CZ, QD, LL, XZ and LJ. Statistical analysis and drafting of the manuscript: ZD. Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: ZD. Supervision: ZD.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.