COVID-19 Cancels Procedures For Patients With Liver Disease


More than half of patients with advanced liver disease have seen procedures canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent survey.

More than half of patients with advanced liver disease have seen procedures canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent survey.

The British Liver Trust’s survey of 121 patients found that 54.6% of people with advanced liver disease had cancellations.

“We know from talking to patients in our nurse-led helpline and support groups that a wide variety of procedures have been delayed or canceled, routine tests, checkups, tests blood, procedures such as liver biopsies and cancer treatments, ”Vanessa Hebditch, director of policy and communications at BLT, said Managed Health Officer®.

For some patients, delays and cancellations have resulted in their condition deteriorating.

“We are very worried. Liver disease is a public health emergency, ”Hebditch said.

There are often very few symptoms in the early stages of liver disease, so people are usually diagnosed at a late stage when it is too late for treatment, Hebditch explained.

“Delays in diagnosis and treatment will result in more people needing liver transplants and, unfortunately, more deaths from liver disease,” she added.

The cancellations and delays of procedures were caused by many factors, including a redeployment of nurses and doctors to other departments and fewer donor livers available for transplantation, according to Hebditch. Additionally, there are concerns about the risks of treating people with liver disease in a face-to-face setting, as many are clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.

It will be some time before services return to pre-COVID levels and the backlog of treatment, testing and monitoring is resolved, Hebditch added.

“There is currently a huge focus on cancer patients, which is absolutely right, but we have to make sure that other diseases such as liver disease are not forgotten,” she said. declared.

The survey also found that 51% of patients with advanced liver disease were told they might need a liver transplant in the future. While some patients saw their liver transplants delayed during the peak of the pandemic, transplant services are now back to normal, according to Hebditch.

Half of the patients surveyed also said they had to take time off work for liver-related hospital appointments, and 40% of respondents said they had to travel more than 40 kilometers to get to their center / liver hospital for routine appointments.

Many patients with liver disease also have to go to the hospital for platelet transfusions and there are now new treatments that can be given orally, thus avoiding the need for transfusion and administration. overnight stay, according to Hebditch.

“We also hope that a positive outcome from COVID-19 will be improved telemedicine and virtual dating,” she said.

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