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Drop in overall IBD procedures during the pandemic

Presented by
Dr M Derks Eduarda Wilhelmina, Radboud University Medical Centre, the Netherlands
ECCO 2023
Throughout the first 2 years of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare utilisation among patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) experienced a net reduction of 2.9%. Broken down by year, the evident decline during the first year was partly offset by an increase in the second year.

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, a substantial decrease was observed in scheduled procedures for IBD with a maximum decrease of 59.7% in the Netherlands at the Dutch pandemic peak in April 2020 [1]. A new analysis of data from the Dutch pathology registry PALGA investigated the influence of 2 years of the COVID-19 pandemic on the extent of healthcare usage by IBD patients [2]. The investigation addressed endoscopic and surgical procedures, as well as new diagnoses of IBD or neoplasms, 2 years after the pandemic. Findings from patients with IBD within the registry during the pandemic (March 2020 to February 2022) were compared with the incidences from March 2018 to February 2020.

Out of nearly 95,000 IBD-related procedures, 94.2% were endoscopic and the rest were surgical. Overall, during the pandemic, 2.9% fewer procedures took place than in the 2 years prior to the pandemic. This reduction was mainly influenced by fewer endoscopies; however, the net difference did not stem from a constant reduction over the 2 pandemic years but from 2 opposing trends. The first pandemic year led to -6.2% endoscopic procedures and -1.3% surgical procedures. In the second year, a net increase followed, leading to +0.02% endoscopies and +2.7% surgeries.

Years 1 and 2 of the pandemic also witnessed a decline in new IBD diagnoses: -0.8% and -1.0%, respectively. No net difference was observed in the detection of colorectal cancers and high-grade dysplasia diagnoses. However, the 2 COVID-19 years differed substantially concerning diagnoses of indefinite or low-grade dysplasias: -10.9% (year 1) and +7.1% (year 2).

In conclusion, the data demonstrated that the meaningful decrease in IBD-related healthcare utilisation between the time before the pandemic and the first 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic was somewhat alleviated during the pandemic’s second year.

  1. Te Groen M, et al. Gastroenterology. 2021;160:935–37.e1.
  2. Derks MEW, et al. Long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on inflammatory bowel disease healthcare utilisation: a two-year nationwide update. P324, ECCO 2023, 1–4 March, Copenhagen, Denmark.

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