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Management of acute severe ulcerative colitis (ASUC) during the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic presents significant dilemmas. We aimed to provide COVID-19-specific guidance using current British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) guidelines as a reference point.
We convened a RAND appropriateness panel comprising 14 gastroenterologists and an IBD nurse consultant supplemented by surgical and COVID-19 experts. Panellists rated the appropriateness of interventions for ASUC in the context of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Median scores and disagreement index (DI) were calculated. Results were discussed at a moderated meeting prior to a second survey.
Panellists recommended that patients with ASUC should be isolated throughout their hospital stay and should have a SARS-CoV-2 swab performed on admission. Patients with a positive swab should be discussed with COVID-19 specialists. As per BSG guidance, intravenous hydrocortisone was considered appropriate as initial management; only in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia was their use deemed uncertain. In patients requiring rescue therapy, infliximab with continuing steroids was recommended. Delaying colectomy because of COVID-19 was deemed inappropriate. Steroid tapering as per BSG guidance, was deemed appropriate for all patients apart from those with COVID-19 pneumonia in whom a 4-6-week taper was preferred. Post-ASUC maintenance therapy was dependent on SARS-CoV-2 status but, in general, biologics were more likely to be deemed appropriate than azathioprine or tofacitinib. Panellists deemed prophylactic anticoagulation post-discharge to be appropriate in patients with a positive SARS-CoV-2 swab.
We have suggested COVID-19-specific adaptations to the BSG ASUC guideline using a RAND Panel.