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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 182-186

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on urological service: Experience at a Taiwanese tertiary center

1 Department of Urology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
2 Department of Urology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital; Department of Urology, College of Medicine and Shu-Tien Urological Research Center, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, Taipei, Taiwan

Correspondence Address:
William J Huang
Department of Urology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, No. 201, Section 2, Shipai Road, Taipei 11217
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/UROS.UROS_119_21

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Purpose: The Taiwan Central Epidemic Command Center raised the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic alert to level 3 throughout the nation since May 19, 2021, and asked hospitals to reduce patient intake. Surgical departments were the worst affected. The aim of this study is to share experiences of urological practice adjustment in a tertiary medical center during the pandemic and to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the urological service in Taiwan under a level 3 epidemic alert. Materials and Methods: This observational study was conducted from June 1, 2021, to June 31, 2021, when a level 3 pandemic alert was declared. Data of patients visiting the urology department at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital were recorded and compared with data 1 year before the COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan (June 1, 2020, to June 31, 2020). Data included outpatient visits, elective surgeries, emergent surgeries, functional urological examinations, and diagnostic procedures in outpatient settings. Results: There was no significant decrease in all types of uro-oncological surgeries, except bladder urothelial carcinoma (UCB)-related procedures. The total number of UCB-related procedures showed 66.67% reduction. Stone-related surgeries were reduced by 45.7%. Only 12% of all transurethral prostate resections were performed in the pandemic. There was a significant decrease in all types of functional urology and andrology procedures. More than 30% reduction was noted in the number of patients visiting the urology department in June 2021 compared to that in June 2020. Conclusion: Our data provide a reference of how the urological service was affected during the level 3 pandemic alert in Taiwan. We postponed most elective surgeries and outpatient visits or diagnostic outpatient examinations procedures according to prioritization guidelines. Uro-oncology-related service was less affected because oncology patients have a stronger motivation for treatment. Benign urological condition-related procedures were significantly influenced. After the epidemic slowdown, the backlog should be gradually managed based on priority.

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