Decline in acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding during Covid-19 pandemic after lockdown in Austria
Received: 18 April 2020
Accepted after revision: 13 May 2020
14 May 2020 (online)
Background and study aims COVID-19 disease has rapidly spread all over the world. The Austrian government has implemented a lockdown to contain further spread of this disease on March 16th. We investigated the effects of lockdown on acute upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding in Austria. Patients and methods We contacted 98 Austrian hospitals performing emergency endoscopies. The hospitals were asked to report upper GI endoscopies performed because of recent hematemesis, melena, or both and exhibiting endoscopically visible signs of bleeding. Investigated time points included three weeks before and after lockdown. Results 61% of Austrian hospitals and importantly all major state hospitals responded. 575 upper GI bleedings occurred in the three weeks before and 341 after lockdown (40.7% reduction). When comparing the first and last calendar week of investigation we observed an almost 55% decline in nonvariceal bleeding events (calendar week 9 versus 14: 196 versus 89) whereas rates of variceal hemorrhage did not change (calendar week 9 versus 14: 17 versus 15). Conclusions National lockdown resulted in a dramatic decrease in upper gastrointestinal bleeding events.