With most global healthcare resources focused on COVID-19, altered resource allocation is disrupting the continuum of care for chronic endocrine conditions, including acromegaly. In order to assess the effects of COVID-19 on care of patients with acromegaly, we conducted an international online survey of endocrinologists. The questionnaire was drafted by a Steering Committee of acromegaly experts and covered both respondent demographics, contact and communication with patients, and patient care. Respondent awareness was generated through social media campaigns and the survey completed online using Google forms. The majority of endocrinologists who responded (N = 84) were based in Europe (67.9%) and were female (58.3%). Slightly more than half of respondents worked in a specialized pituitary center (52.4%) and a large minority cared for more than 50 acromegaly patients (47.6%). Most respondents (85.7%) indicated surgery was their first-line treatment, with only 14.3% indicating medical therapy as a first-choice treatment option. One-third (33.3%) of respondents reported having delayed a planned surgery due to a lack of COVID-19 testing provision and 54.8% due to a lack of surgical provision; 19.1% indicated that a lack of personal protective equipment had reduced their ability to treat patients with acromegaly. Just 21.4% of respondents reported no negative effects from the pandemic on diagnostic practice patterns, and just 19.1% reported no negative effect on patient follow-up practices. Many respondents (55.9%) indicated that remote methods had improved their ability to communicate with their patients and 69.0% indicated that they would continue to use methods of consultation necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our data suggest the COVID-19 pandemic is substantially affecting the care of acromegaly. However, these results also suggest that endocrinologists are embracing aspects of the ‘new normal’ to create a novel continuum of care better suited to the presumed post-COVID-19 environment. The goal of these changes must be both to improve care while shielding patients from more severe involvement in concomitant acute illnesses such COVID-19.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism