P488 The COVID19 pandemic impact on Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients Management in a Romanian Tertiary Gastroenterology Centre

Costache, R.(1);Iacob, R.(1);Vadan, R.(1);Stroie, T.(1);Gheorghe, L.(1);Diculescu, M.(1);Gheorghe, C.(1);

(1)Clinical Institute Fundeni, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Bucharest, Romania


The IBD patients management has been challenging during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, due to lockdowns, limitation of access to medical facilities and new recommendations regarding patient management. The implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on IBD patient’s management were assessed in our Tertiary Gastroenterology Centre in Bucharest, Romania.


Using the hospital’s medical system, records of IBD patients admitted between 15th of March and 15th of August 2020 have been retrospectively reviewed and compared to a control cohort of consecutive IBD patients admitted to our unit during the corresponding period of 2019, registering the epidemiological features, patient management and the incidence of COVID-19 infection.


410 individual IBD cases were managed in our unit in 2020 compared to 532 in 2019, with a significant shift towards one-day hospitalization: 1059 admissions (9% ward hospitalizations, 91% one-day hospitalizations) compared to 1327 cases in the corresponding period of 2019 (17.8% ward hospitalizations, 82.2% one day hospitalizations). There was no statistically significant difference between the distribution of patient’s gender, IBD phenotype or newly diagnosed IBD cases between the two periods. A significantly lower proportion of admitted patients received 5-aminosalicylic acid (29% vs. 41.2%, p=0.0001), whereas a substantially higher number pf patients were prescribed biological therapy in 2020 in comparison to the corresponding 2019-time frame (79.5% vs 57.9%, p<0.0001). The distribution of the biological agent used was significantly different, mainly due to the increase of vedolizumab prescription in 2020 (p<0.0001). Among the newly diagnosed cases 50.0% had a severe disease requiring a biological agent (vs 30.2% in 2019, p>0.05). Moreover, from our previously diagnosed patients, 7.1% needed the initiation of biological therapy due to disease flare-up (vs. 4.3% in 2019, p=0.003). During the study period in 2020, seven IBD patients (1.7%) were diagnosed with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov2) infection, all of them with mild symptoms without impact on the IBD course.


The COVID-19 pandemic led to reorganizing medical care, restricting the hospital admissions in favour of severe IBD cases, favouring telemedicine for mild disease and optimization of treatment for moderate to severe IBD with an increased use of biologicals aimed to maximize the risk/benefit ratio. Incidence of SARS-Cov2 infection during the first wave of COVID-19 infection in our study group was 1.7% and did not adversely impact the IBD disease course.