European Society for Neurogastroenterology and Motility recommendations for conducting gastrointestinal motility and function testing in the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic

Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2020 Jul;32(7):e13930. doi: 10.1111/nmo.13930.


Background: During the peak of the COronaVIrus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, care for patients with gastrointestinal motility and functional disorders was largely suspended. In the recovery phases of the pandemic, non-urgent medical care is resumed, but there is a lack of guidance for restarting and safely conducting motility and function testing. Breath tests and insertion of manometry and pH-monitoring probes carry a risk of SARS-CoV-2 spread through droplet formation.

Methods: A panel of experts from the European Society for Neurogastroenterology and Motility (ESNM) evaluated emerging national and single-center recommendations to provide the best current evidence and a pragmatic approach to ensure the safe conduct of motility and function testing for both healthcare professionals and patients.

Results: At a general level, this involves evaluation of the urgency of the procedure, evaluation of the infectious risk associated with the patient, the investigation and the healthcare professional(s) involved, provision of the test planning and test units, education and training of staff, and use of personnel protection equipment. Additional guidance is provided for specific procedures such as esophageal manometry, pH monitoring, and breath tests.

Conclusions and inferences: The ESNM guidelines provide pragmatic and appropriate guidance for the safe conduct of motility and function testing in the COVID-19 pandemic and early recovery phase.

Keywords: COVID-19; breath test; esophageal manometry; pH monitoring; personal protection equipment.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / therapy
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Expert Testimony / methods
  • Expert Testimony / standards
  • Gastroenterology / standards*
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / physiology*
  • Health Personnel / standards
  • Humans
  • Neurology / standards*
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / therapy
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards*
  • Protective Clothing / standards
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Societies, Medical / standards