Liver Care and Surveillance: The Global Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Hepatology communications Toyoda, H., Huang, D. Q., Le, M. H., Nguyen, M. H. 2020


As social distancing and strict stay-at-home orders have been instituted to slow the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), unintentional outcomes among those with chronic diseases including screening for the lethal hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) may be occurring. We aimed to describe the changes in liver care before and after COVID-19 restricted access to health care. We obtained data on the number of liver clinic visits, abdominal ultrasound, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging using electronic query or clinic registry at three medical centers in the United States, Japan, and Singapore for the following periods: February 1 to March 14, 2018, 2019, and 2020; and March 15 to May 1, 2018, 2019, and 2020. We performed trend analysis using logistic regression. In total, 14,403 visits were made to the liver clinics at the three centers: 5,900 in 2018, 5,270 in 2019, and 3,233 in 2020. Overall, there were no significant changes in the distribution of males and females between February 1 and May 1 from 2018 to 2020, but there was a lower proportion of seniors ages 65 years and older (P < 0.001). There were significant decreasing trends in the total number of liver clinic visits overall (p-trend = 0.038) and in the subanalysis for chronic hepatitis B, C, and other liver diseases. HCC/cirrhosis visits also dropped from 883 to 538 (39.07% decrease) overall and 665 to 355 (46.62% decrease) for the US site. In addition, there was a significant decreasing trend in the number of abdominal ultrasounds (P-trend = 0.004) and computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging (P-trend = 0.007) performed overall. Conclusion: Liver clinic visits, hepatoma surveillance, and diagnostic abdominal imaging fell dramatically as social distancing measures were instituted. Care providers must find ways to recall patients for important care monitoring, including HCC surveillance.

View details for DOI 10.1002/hep4.1579

View details for PubMedID 32838107

View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7405084