Real-world clinical data of endoscopy-based cancer detection during the emergency declaration for COVID-19 in Japan

World J Gastrointest Endosc. 2020 Oct 16;12(10):401-403. doi: 10.4253/wjge.v12.i10.401.


The impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is widespread throughout the world, causing serious damage to healthcare systems. Therefore, we examined the significance of endoscopy based on the recommendation of Asian-Pacific Society for Digestive Endoscopy and Japan Gastroenterological Endoscopy Society during the COVID-19 pandemic by evaluating the details of gastrointestinal endoscopy performed during the declaration of emergency in Japan. We have continued performing gastrointestinal endoscopy at an outpatient clinic that specialized in endoscopic medical care in Tokyo, Japan. During the emergency declaration period, 544 patients underwent gastrointestinal endoscopy. As a control, we investigated 1327 patients who underwent gastrointestinal endoscopy during the same period in 2019. Although the total number of endoscopies during the emergency declaration was halved, the advanced cancer detection rate during the emergency declaration was significantly higher than that in 2019 (P = 0.04). Additionally, no COVID-19 infection was observed in healthcare workers, staff, or patients during this period. It is possible that an outpatient endoscopy units can contribute to the detection of advanced cancer, while the hospital in charge for patients with COVID-19 infection could not perform endoscopy during the declaration of emergency.

Keywords: COVID-19; Endoscopy; Gastrointestinal; Neoplasms; Pandemics; Personal protective equipment.