Impact of COVID-19 on rhinology practice: a global survey
Keywords:COVID-19, Coronavirus, Rhinology, Otolaryngology, Aerosol generating procedure, Pandemic
Background: The impact of COVID-19 on healthcare services has resulted in significant changes in day to day practice in order to reduce the virus transmission and protect the public and the healthcare professionals. Rhinologists are at higher risk of contracting the virus as they are regularly exposed to the aerosols generated during out-patient and surgical procedures. The aim of the survey was to identify the impact of COVID-19 on various aspects of rhinology practice and the changes instituted to mitigate the risks.
Methods: An anonymous email survey was developed and circulated among otolaryngologists from around the world.
Results: A total of 162 responses from 44 countries were included in the analysis. 63% of the respondents attended only emergent, urgent and time sensitive cases in the outpatient setting with introduction of various screening methods. Over 88% respondents were carrying out aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs) in their rhinology clinics. 67.39% respondents had not operated on any COVID-19 positive patient at the completion of the survey. Preoperative COVID testing and self-solation protocols differed as per the local hospital policy. 16 rhinologists reported a member of their team becoming positive after AGPs and 9 becoming positive after being involved in surgical procedures. Online teaching sessions were the most preferred (74.38%) mode of continued medical teaching/ training around the world.
Conclusions: Data analysis revealed that most rhinologists followed the suggested guidelines by various ear, nose and throat (ENT) national organisations like ENTUK, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) etc. in their practice and also provided insight into some of the deficiencies which need improvement as the pandemic continues to affect the global practice.
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