Delayed diagnosis and treatment exacerbate digestive diseases
ACCORDING to specialists at Quirónsalud Alicante and Valencia, since the State of Alarm began, the fear of going to the emergency room or consulting a specialist has delayed the diagnosis and treatment of major diseases such as appendicitis, cholecystitis or diverticulitis, which currently present more advanced conditions requiring more complicated surgery.
Among the digestive disorders most affected during the confinement period was colorectal cancer, says, Dr Blas Flor-Lorente, head of Digestive Surgery and Surgical Oncology at Quirónsalud Hospital in Valencia, “The delay in performing colonoscopies has prevented these kinds of tumours from being diagnosed early, which leads to delayed surgical treatment with a poorer prognosis.”
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death in Europe and the first in digestive cancer. “Colorectal cancer screening programmes are key as a method for improving survival data,” says Dr Pedro Bretcha, head of Digestive Surgery and Surgical Oncology at Quirónsalud Alicante and Torrevieja Hospitals, “so mortality from delay may be higher than that caused by Covid-19. This is particularly important in the area of the digestive system as one in three cancer-related deaths is caused by digestive diseases.”
Some forecasts suggest that deaths due to delayed diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients will lead to more years of life lost than the virus itself. As Dr Bretcha, explains, “In the UK it is estimated that every week about 2,500 people are not being diagnosed due to lack of referral to specialists and another 400 are not being diagnosed through population-based screening.”
Dr Flor-Lorente, advises patients who present rectal bleeding, alterations when going to the bathroom (diarrhoea or constipation) sustained over time, swelling or abdominal pain, as well as any other pelvic or abdominal ailment that they had not perceived before, to consult a specialist for an assessment.
Surgical operations with all the safety measures
The surgical departments of Quirónsalud Torrevieja and Valencia hospitals have adapted to the new reality and adopted new safety measures for both the patient and the surgical care personnel.
All patients who are going to be operated for any procedure go through a rigorous epidemiological and clinical screening, as well as a PCR test prior to the operation to rule out an active infection. If there is any doubt, an additional study such as a chest CT scan and blood tests are carried out.
In scheduled surgeries with positive PCR, the operation will be suspended and will be performed when the patient is fit and has overcome the infection. If surgery is urgent, a serological test for checking antibodies generated against the virus as well as a chest CT scan is performed prior to surgery. If the patient is positive, if an effective alternative to surgery exists, it will be chosen in order to avoid complications in the post-operative period. If this is not possible, all measures will be taken to carry out the procedure safely.
Quirónsalud, safe hospitals against Covid-19
Quirónsalud hospitals have obtained the Covid-19 Safe Protocol certification by Applus+, after ensuring that both hospitals are protected and controlled areas adhering with the most demanding standards against the coronavirus pandemic, mitigating the risk of infection at their facilities to the maximum for both their personnel and patients.
To obtain this certification – which recognises and certifies the work and commitment of both hospitals to fight Covid-19 – the management has strived to implement and monitor an Operational Plan to identify and control the risk of transmission of Covid-19. This plan is the result of an in-depth analysis of all the protocols, procedures and measures implemented to reduce the risk of transmission of the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus which causes Covid-19 disease to the minimum.
Owing to the various safety measures adopted against the spread of Covid-19, Quirónsalud hospitals are now able to provide regular care in all their medical and surgical specialities, as well as emergency and diagnostic tests, with the same levels of healthcare coverage prior to the pandemic.