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Recommendations Issued for GI Procedures During COVID-19

N95 masks recommended instead of surgical masks for GI procedures; double gloves recommended

TUESDAY, April 7, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- In a document issued by the American Gastroenterological Association, published online April 1 in Gastroenterology, recommendations are presented for gastrointestinal (GI) procedures during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Shahnaz Sultan, M.D., from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues summarized the data and provided evidence-based recommendations and clinical guidance for gastroenterologists in the setting of COVID-19 infection.

The authors recommend that health care workers performing upper or lower GI procedures use N95 masks instead of surgical masks, regardless of COVID-19 status, as part of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). In known or presumptive COVID-19 patients, as part of adequate PPE, health care workers performing any GI procedure are advised not to use surgical masks only. Extended use/reuse of N95 masks over surgical masks is recommended as part of appropriate PPE in extreme resource-constrained settings involving health care workers performing any GI procedures, regardless of COVID-19 status. Use of double gloves is recommended versus single gloves for health care workers performing any GI procedure, regardless of COVID-19 status. The use of negative pressure rooms is suggested over regular endoscopy rooms for health care workers performing any GI procedure with known or presumptive COVID-19. Continued standard cleaning endoscopic disinfection and reprocessing protocols are recommended for endoscopes utilized on patients, regardless of COVID-19 status. A triage system should be implemented for GI procedures that categorizes procedures as time-sensitive or not time-sensitive.

"Due to the rapidly evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, these recommendations will likely need to be updated within a short timeframe," the authors write.

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