AGA Rapid Review and Guideline for SARS-CoV2 Testing and Endoscopy Post-Vaccination: 2021 Update.

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This guideline provides updated recommendations on the role of pre-procedure testing for SARS-CoV2 in individuals undergoing endoscopy in the post-vaccination period and replaces the prior guideline from the American Gastroenterological Association (released July 29, 2020). Since the start of the pandemic, our increased understanding of transmission has facilitated the implementation of practices to promote patient and healthcare worker (HCW) safety. Simultaneously, there has been increasing recognition of the potential harm associated with delays in patient care as well as inefficiency of endoscopy units. With widespread vaccination of HCWs and the general population, a re-evaluation of AGA’s prior recommendations was warranted. In order to update the role of pre-procedure testing for SARS-CoV2, the AGA guideline panel reviewed the evidence on (1) prevalence of asymptomatic SARS-CoV2 infections in individuals undergoing endoscopy, (2) patient and HCW risk of infections that may be acquired immediately before, during, or after endoscopy, (3) effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine in reducing risk of infections and transmission, (4) patient and HCW anxiety, (5) patient delays in care and potential impact on cancer burden, and (6) endoscopy volumes. The panel considered the certainty of the evidence, weighed the benefits and harms of routine pre-procedure testing, and considered burden, equity, and cost using the GRADE framework. Based on very low certainty evidence, the panel made a conditional recommendation against routine pre-procedure testing for SARS-CoV2 in patients scheduled to undergo endoscopy. The panel placed a high value on minimizing additional delays in patient care, acknowledging the reduced endoscopy volumes, downstream impact on delayed cancer diagnoses and burden of testing on patients.

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Authors: Shahnaz Sultan, Shazia M Siddique, Siddarth Singh, Osama Altayar, Angela M Caliendo, Perica Davitkov, Joseph D Feuerstein, Vivek Kaul, Joseph K Lim, Reem A Mustafa, Yngve Falck-Ytter, John M Inadomi, AGA